Two Apartment Buildings Collapse in New York City; Metro-North Restores All Service

Mar 12, 2014

Paramedics respond to a double building collapse in Manhattan.
Credit Stephen Nessen / WNYC

Metro-North restored all train service into and out of Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday after service had been suspended for several hours. Two apartment buildings collapsed after an explosion at Park Avenue and 116th Street adjacent to the Metro-North commuter tracks. 

The Associated Press reported that the two apartment buildings were leveled by an explosion triggered by a gas leak, leading to eight deaths and over 60 injuries. Wednesday evening, the AP reported that nine occupants of the buildings were still unaccounted for. The New York Police Department advised anyone searching for information on loved ones can call 311 from within New York City, or (212) NEW-YORK from outside the city.

More information about Metro-North service is available here, where the railroad cautioned customers to expect crowding and delays. "Metro-North structural engineers have verified the integrity of the Park Avenue elevated structure," the railroad said. "All four tracks have been restored to service after being cleared of debris, inspected for track and third rail integrity and approved for operations by Metro-North and the New York City Fire Department."

Metro-North said that trains will travel through the collapse zone at reduced speeds while rescue and recovery efforts continue.

The New York Times reported that authorities were responding to reports of people trapped in the rubble. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said more than a dozen people were still missing by the middle of the day. The American Red Cross was on the scene, and an assistance center was opened at P.S. 57 on 115th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. 

Con Edison said a resident in a nearby building had reported smelling gas shortly before the explosion occurred. De Blasio said a Con Ed team was en route to the building at the time of the explosion.

Television footage showed smoke billowing from the area. WABC reported that residents heard a large explosion in an apartment building around 9:00 am. 

Broken glass from apartment windows and storefronts is scattered on sidewalks for blocks in the area. The AP reported that the blast was so powerful, witnesses said it knocked groceries off the shelves in nearby stores.

WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show offered an update about the situation on the air Wednesday morning:

Tweets below offer some images from the scene, and news as it developed: