WHAT IS INITIALLY BELIEVED TO BE a natural gas explosion devastated a 20-unit apartment building in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. The blast occurred around 4 pm Saturday afternoon.
A woman and her four young daughters were in the apartment at the time of the blast and were severely burned. They are now being treated in a New York burn hospital and are in critical condition. About 17 others in the building were also injured in various degrees including two firefighters injured by falling debris when they entered the building.
Residents of the building said that they had been smelling gas for about an hour before the blast and some others said that one of the apartments was operating as an illegal restaurant selling takeout foods for taxi drivers.