One person was killed and eight other people were hurt in New York on Tuesday after a residential explosion caused at least a partial building collapse, rendered three structures uninhabitable and sparked a daylong fire, officials sad.
Two people were in serious condition. Five New York City police officers were among those taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Police don’t suspect any foul play and neighbors say they smelled gas before the house exploded and collapsed around 11 a.m. Tuesday.
“This tragic and frightening event after the inferno we saw just days ago just really adds the pressure on the Bronx,” Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday’s incident happened about 3 miles south of the deadly Bronx fire at a 19-story residential building on Jan. 9 that killed 17 people. Authorities believe a malfunctioning electric space heater was to blame in that fire.
The cause of Tuesday’s blast remains under investigation. Officials acknowledged that there was a report of the smell of gas before or around the time of the blast, but any connection to gas is preliminary, they said.
Chief of Fire Operations John Hodgens said three buildings were damaged when firefighters arrived, the fire was raging and three people needed to be rescued.
Four homes will now have to be demolished as a result of the explosion, NYC Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. said.
The fire certainly has the hallmarks of a gas explosion, but authorities haven’t said for sure. It’s still under investigation.
Hero officer Capt. Anthony Macias said his only thought was how to get her out safely.
“The floor was crumbling under our feet and underneath we could see the small flames,” Macias said.
Adams said police rescued a woman who was “trapped inside” one of the structures.
Hodgens said firefighters found two sisters who had been inside the structure on the ground outside after the blast.
One of the women died and the two others were hospitalized, he said. Police said the three women were all older than 65.
The blaze was under control by late afternoon.
Videos showed plumes of smoke billowing from the building, which appeared to be three stories high.
Fire marshals, police arson investigators and agets of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were among the investigative team, officials said.
City leaders expressed concern about the two deadly events this month in a community that once suffered structural losses and a sense of widespread neglect in the 1970s, when much of the borough was rubble and ash or brick hulks patched with plywood.
“We as a borough are absolutely devastated,” Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said at an afternoon news conference. “Yet another fire that we’re facing here in the South Bronx and Longwood.”
“We have lost Mrs. Martha Dagbatsa, 79, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and sister. We mourn her departure from this world but find comfort knowing she is resting in peace with our Lord in Heaven.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to the family to offer your condolences. We are happy to report that Mrs. Dagbatsa’s sister, who survived the incident, is doing well and on the road to recovery.
Thank you to community members Christopher Rodriguez and Benancio Caba for your heroic actions, immediately jumping into action and helping victims to safety.
Thank you to the courageous first responders from NYPD, FDNY and EMS. We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured 41st Precinct officers.
We’re happy that our neighbors on and around Fox St. are okay and are saddened that some of you have lost or been put out of your homes. We pray for you and your families.”
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