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.