An explosion collapsed two buildings and sent smoke billowing throughout Harlem Wednesday morning.
Con Edison employees were sent to 116th street to examine a possible gas leak. A short time later an explosion erupted, partially collapsing two buildings and killing at least six people.
The buildings were reportedly five or six stories tall and erupted rubble onto streets and train tracks, causing Metro-North service to cease.
Emergency responders worked to free victims, clear debris and restore transportation, but photographs showed great devastation. The death and injury toll will likely climb as rescuers further their efforts.
Gas pipeline leaks are a deadly problem in New York City. Although relatively rare, they have the potential to kill dozens, hundreds or thousands.
Much of the nation's gas pipelines have aged to a point where deterioration is a threat. Construction work and natural phenomena like tectonic plate movement compound the risk.
Those injured by NYC building fires or explosions often have a variety of legal opportunities, including the right to bring a premises liability claim. When employees suffer on-the-job injuries they often have the ability to seek workers' compensation benefits or third-party claims.
Source: USA Today, "Two Buildings Collapse In Harlem In Reported Explosion," Doug Stanglin, March 12, 2014