Harlem Explosion: Two Killed, Dozens Injured By Apparent Gas Leak; Buildings Leveled

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At least two people were killed and nearly two dozen injured Wednesday by a Harlem explosion reportedly triggered by a gas leak, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor, speaking to New York reporters at the scene, said finding those still missing is a top priority, but cautioned that many may have simply fled to safety.

The N.Y. City Fire Department said at least 22 people were hurt, including two with life-threatening injuries and four with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Both fatalities were women. More than a dozen people are unaccounted for after the explosion leveled two buildings in Harlem and ignited a massive fire.

"This is a tragedy of the worst kind because there was no indication in time to save people," de Blasio told the media. "We have lost two people already."

He promised a thorough search of the rubble after the 200 firefighters, who began arriving on the scene in two minutes, bring the fire under control.

The buildings housed a Spanish Christian Church and a piano repair store at the East Harlem address on Park Avenue between 114th and 116th Streets.

"It felt like an earthquake rattled my whole building," said a witness. "There were glass shards everywhere on the ground; all the stores had their windows blown out."

The mayor said the explosion occurred at 9:31 a.m. ET, only minutes before a Con Ed utilities team arrived on the scene to check on reports of a natural gas leak.

As Harlem residents gathered near the scene of the explosion, white smoke still billowed up from the debris in waves and left a chalky taste in the air.

Traffic is blocked off and Metro-North service into and out of Grand Central Terminal was suspended due to the debris on the elevated train tracks.

Story developing ...

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building it with the wrong cement made more people injured.