The World War reference is likely from watching TV (the lady is only 30 years old).
What must be a minor miracle that a total of 15 apartments were wiped out and only (8) dead…yet. But also this, it is not common knowledge that gas explosions can be this lethal.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called
the incident “a tragedy of the worst kind” and warned a number of
people were still unaccounted for, raising fears of possible further losses.
Firefighters battled throughout the afternoon to extinguish the heavy fire
in East Harlem, where witnesses compared the scene of twisted metal, thick
white smoke and dusty rubble to a war zone.
The explosion sparked inevitable reminders for some New Yorkers of the 9/11
terror attacks in 2001 that brought down the Twin Towers. Other witnesses said
it felt like an earthquake.
There were 15 apartments in the two buildings that collapsed, de Blasio and
city officials told reporters near the scene at 116th Street and Park Avenue, a
mainly Latino community. Around 15 minutes before the blast, energy company Con
Edison received a call from an adjoining apartment building alerting
maintenance staff to the smell of gas. The explosion struck around 9:30 am
(1330 GMT) and the New York Fire Department said firefighters were on the scene
two minutes later.
Four different hospitals told AFP
they treated a total of 63 patients, the vast majority with minor injuries.
A spokesman for Mount Sinai said 22 people, including three children, were
treated. Nineteen were discharged. One woman was “critical but
stable” with a head trauma and two other people were still being evaluated
in the emergency room, the spokesman said. The New York City Health and
Hospitals Corporation tweeted that its Harlem and Metropolitan Hospitals
received a total of 30 patients who suffered a variety of injuries. A
spokeswoman for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital said that doctors received 11
patients, with 10 still under evaluation.
Jazzmen Arzuaga, 30, said she was at work at a hospital when her wife rang
to tell her what had happened. “She called me and told me ‘Oh my God, you
need to come home now, it’s like World War II, people are dying, there was an
explosion.’ I just literally ran,” she said. The couple live across the
street from the blast. Arzuaga’s wife Jay Virgo, also 30, said she was lying in
bed when the blast threw her to the floor. “There was glass everywhere,
huge pieces of glass. It just looked crazy,” she said.
Con Edison confirmed that a resident reported smelling gas inside the
apartment building at 1652 Park Avenue. “Our crews are checking our gas
lines and working to isolate any leaks that they find and they’re working
closely with the FDNY to make the area safe,” company spokesman Bob McGee