Two people have been has been confirmed dead, while eleven others were injured. The front of a three-story building located at 4206 13th Avenue in Borough Park blasted off on Saturday, October 3, at around 1 p.m.
The FDNY announced that the blaze had grown into a four alarm fire, by shortly past 3 p.m. According to authorities the 911 call came in at about 1 p.m. after the front of the building was blown off by a gas explosion. The fire spread rapidly to the adjoining building, causing damage to apartment and a house wears store.
As fire and thick black smoke bellowed out the front of the building, people scurried from the scene, as over 200 firefighters responded. Roads were blocked off by police cars and fire trucks for a block in all directions.
A father and son were hit by falling debris as they returned home from synagagoue, according to a witness. They were identified as 33-year-old Shimshon Ben Rochal Leah Segedin and his 10-year-old son. Both were taken to Maimonides Hospital, and are in stable condition.
As of Sunday, a total of eleven were injured in the fire, including five firefighters. Most just incurred minor injuries
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement calling the explosion the latest in a “disturbing trend” after deadly gas explosions in Harlem and the East Village; in which two men were killed and 25 others were injured. He said, “On behalf of all New Yorkers, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by today’s explosion, especially the friends and family of those lost or injured.”
Condolences were offered to the families of those injured as well as praise to the quick response of the FDNY, in statements made by Mayor Bill de Blasio and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro who also visited the scene.
“Obviously a very tough day here in Borough Park. It is the Sabbath day in Borough Park. This is a community I know well, and I represented in the City Council. So, I know it was a real shock to the residents of this community to here this explosion. And I want everyone in the community to know that the FDNY and NYPD have responded very, very effectively in this situation. I want to thank Commissioner Nigro and Chief Leonard for their efforts, and the efforts of all the men and women of the FDNY in responding,” the mayor said.
Investigators believe that the explosion was caused from a kitchen stove that was being disconnected on the second floor.
“We are told that the tenant there purchased a high-end stove, and it was their old stove — they were moving out of the apartment and they were going to take that old stove with them,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement. “Of course, to take a stove with you, it entails disconnecting the gas line.”
And although indications point to a gas explosion, Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed no one reported smelling gas before the incident.
“After the incident in East Harlem, we emphasize, the people New York City, if you smell gas, call 911,” de Blasio said. “We know in too many cases people haven’t done that in the past.”