Four more bodies were found overnight in the smoldering rubble of two upper Manhattan buildings leveled by a gas explosion that injured more than 70 people and spewed debris for blocks, bringing the death toll to seven.
Rescue crews brought in a backhoe and bulldozer and were digging through the debris Thursday for more buried victims as firefighters battled flareups in the wreckage of the two five-story buildings that collapsed Wednesday morning on 116th and Park Avenue.
Five people are still missing.
The explosion knocked out windows of surrounding apartment buildings and forced evacuations in seven of them, officials said. The Red Cross said nearly 70 people, half of them children, spent the night at the Salvation Army.
The only indication of anything wrong before the explosion was a call to Con Edison from a woman in a nearby building, reporting a strong odor of gas just minutes before the blast, the mayor and the utility said. But it was too late.
Three of the seven victims killed in the explosion have been identified as Griselde Camacho, 44, Carmen Tanco, 67, and Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios, 22. Four others, three men and one woman, have not been identified.
Hospitals reported receiving 74 people injured, including one teen and one woman who were both critically hurt. The 15 year-old boy’s skin was badly burned, and he had broken bones and internal injuries, doctors said. The woman, who was pulled from the debris, is being treated for critical neck and back injuries.
The law firm of Morgan Levine Dolan handles many types of cases involving building collapses and explosions. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients injured as a result of the negligence of building owners and contractors.
A thorough, detailed investigation into the cause of these buildings collapsing must begin immediately so that crucial evidence is not destroyed. The City of New York and its agencies cannot be relied upon to perform these types of investigations. Many times it is determined that improper building permits were issued by the City and therefore liability is found against the Department of Buildings of the City of New York. Hiring the right lawyer to uncover negligent acts is the first important step.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a building collapse, contact Jared Levine of Morgan Levine Dolan today.