At this point, at least seven people have been killed, at least three dozen people have been injured and several more remain missing after two buildings collapsed in an explosion last Wednesday in New York. The explosion is believed to have been caused by an underground gas leak, as at least one phone call was made by someone approximately 15 minutes before the blast reporting the smell of gas. Clearly, the priority now is to find anyone who may still be trapped in the rubble in hopes of rescuing them, but a complete investigation into what caused this tragedy is sure to begin almost immediately.
The explosion occurred at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and it affected buildings on a residential block at East 116th Street and Park Avenue in Upper Manhattan in the East Harlem neighborhood. The buildings contained 15 different apartments and some small businesses on the ground-level floors. The people who were killed have not been identified. Some of the people who were injured suffered critical injuries while others escaped with only minor levels of harm. It could also be some time before final statistics are released regarding the damage that was done.
Hundreds of fire department, police department and rescue personnel rushed to the scene in an attempt to treat those who were harmed and to free those who may still be trapped. At least 10 people remain unaccounted for, but some have expressed fear that it’s unlikely that anyone could survive such a scene if they are still inside what now looks like an ominous pile of stones, wood and glass. Reports indicate that the force of the explosion could be felt several blocks away, and the initial reaction by many people brought them back to the horrifying memories of September in 2001. This is not believed to be any sort of terrorist attack, though, and the assumption at this point is that the explosion was some sort of accident.
Clearly, we’d like to join everyone in our city in sending our most sincere thoughts to those people who have been affected by this tragedy. We hope that as many people who can be rescued are soon and that those who have been injured are able to overcome the harm that they have suffered. We also hope that the investigation quickly comes to a resolution and that a clear and decisive cause of the explosion is identified so that those who have suffered can at least experience some sort of closure.
It also seems likely that the people who have been harmed will have the need to learn more about their potential legal rights and options, as they will undoubtedly face several forms of tremendous loss. Justice will demand that these losses be recaptured. If this includes you or someone you love, contact the New York injury lawyers at the Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C., today to schedule a free initial consultation.