Updated March 13, 2014, 1:15 p.m.: The death toll in the East Harlem building explosion and collapse has risen to seven. USA Today reports that rescuers going through the devastation found four additional victims overnight, New York City Fire Department spokesman Danny Glover said.
“This is a difficult job, a challenging job,” another fire department spokesman, Jim Long, said, according to USA Today, adding that it was “a very terrible and traumatic scene.”
Two women believed to be in their 40s are included in the death toll. One of them has been identified by Hunter College as security officer Griselde Camacho, who had worked for the school for the past six years.
A gas explosion in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood Wednesday morning sent “people flying out the windows,” killing two women, injuring 22, leaving at least a dozen people unaccounted for and turning two buildings to rubble Wednesday morning, according to the New York City Fire Department and witnesses, the Daily News reports.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that the blast occurred at 9:31 a.m. and that the search continues for people still unaccounted for some three hours after the blast. A law-enforcement source told the newspaper that the cause appeared to have been a gas explosion.
Residents of a building neighboring the site complained of smelling gas at 9:13 a.m.—18 minutes before the explosion, Con Edison spokeswoman Elizabeth Matthews told the Daily News. Con Ed workers “arrived just after the explosion occurred,” Matthews said.