A gas-related explosion leveled three East Village buildings and injured 15, three critically.
At 3:17 p.m., private contractors were conducting plumbing and gas work inside 121 Second Avenue between East Seventh Street and St. Mark’s Place, which caused an explosion that impacted 119, 121, 123 and 125 Second Avenue. The buildings at 121, 123 and 125 Second Avenue collapsed; fire fighters are working on battling a fire at 119 Second Avenue, and that building is at risk of collapsing, officials said at a press conference this afternoon.
An FDNY official said 250 firefighters were sent to the scene.
At 3:28 p.m., the FDNY’s official account tweeted that there was a “major building collapse,” in a “mixed-use building.”
Three patients are in critical condition and at least 12 others are injured, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press conference.
Consolidated Edison was at 121 Second Avenue at 2 p.m. “evaluating the meter installation for a new service that was going to be installed to the building,” said Con Edison President Craig Ivey.
“The initial preliminary information is Con Ed inspectors arrived at the site earlier for a separate reason entirely, found the work to be unacceptable, gave instructions to what changes were needed, and that was an hour or more before [the explosion],” Mr. de Blasio said.
A spokesman for the Department of Buildings told Commercial Observer shortly after the explosion that the agency was “still gathering details.”
Initial news reports said 30 people were injured; photos on twitter showed flames enveloping a building next door (see tweets and video below). Two restaurants, Sushi Park and Pommes Frites, at 121 Second Avenue and 123 Second Avenue, are reportedly damaged or destroyed.
The DOB issued a stop-work order on one of the buildings, 125 Second Avenue, dating back to 2004. The site also shows three complaints at the building still “in violation.”
The investigation is ongoing.
Additional reporting by Jillian Jorgensen
Update: This story has been edited numerous times with new information.
— NYPD 9th Precinct (@NYPD9Pct) March 26, 2015
Whole building is in flames now. pic.twitter.com/U3zGUPqi86
— Scott Westerfeld (@ScottWesterfeld) March 26, 2015