Building explodes in NYC’s East Village

Building explodes in NYC’s East VillageNew York Post

As many as 30 people were hurt when an explosion caused a partial building collapse and ignited a massive fire in the East Village on Thursday afternoon, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

A preliminary investigation suggests that workers at the Second Avenue location accidentally “hit a gas main” and touched off the destruction, a police source said.  

Flames gutted two adjoining apartment buildings at 121 and 123 Second Ave., with 123 collapsing and 121 in danger of doing so, according to the FDNY.

A dozen people were rushed to local hospitals with various injurues, including four victims in critical condition and another with serious injuries, sources said.

Two civilians who suffered serious burns were rushed to the New York Hospital, while a civilian who was knocked unconscious was taken to Bellevue Hospital, sources said.

Gas service was being shut down along Second Avenue in the East Village, according to Con Ed.


Helayne Seidman

Acrid smoke from the blaze billowed over the neighborhood and spread north across Manhattan, with office workers smelling it even inside high-rise towers in Midtown.

A diner who was eating at the Sushi Park restaurant at 121 Second Ave. told cops he heard an explosion inside the kitchen there, and day laborers said they had been working on a gas line there, a source said.

Construction worker Matty Disilvestro, 51, of Sheepshead Bay, said he felt “the pressure of the blast” while on St. Mark’s Place, about a block north.

“I heard a loud explosion, just a very loud vibrating boom….People who were on the sidewalks and even people on the opposite side of the street were hit with debris,” he said.

“People were bleeding from the head, the face, their hands. People were running. They were confused, had no idea what just happened.”

One witness also said she saw a man climbing up a fire escape toward the roof of one building following the blast. His fate was unknown.

Robert Shapiro, who ran over from a nearby cafe, said that at first, “the whole building was covered in a thick, whitish-tan smoke — I assumed the building was gone, but it wasn’t; you just couldn’t see it.”

“Then all of a sudden the roof erupted in flames. I swear to you, at least 30 feet in the air, bright orange flames,” said Shapiro, who runs the Social Tees animal shelter around the corner on Fifth Street.

“I’ve never seen such an aggressive fire — it was like they were pouring gas on it.”

Cops in the Ninth Precinct stationhouse, about a quarter-mile away, heard a loud bang and raced over, sources said.

The destruction near the corner of Second Avenue and East Seventh Street was first reported to 911 as a possible gas explosion at 3:17 p.m.

The FDNY initially declared a two-alarm emergency, but quickly upgraded it to seven alarms shortly before 4 p.m.

18 thoughts on “Building explodes in NYC’s East Village

  1. There is a photo of the debris on the street that I really wanted y’all to see, but it didn’t come through. Click on the link at the bottom of the story to view it.

    1. I ask myself that same question whenever someone says the word, “Lockdown”. Seriously? Are we being invaded? These people need to stop using words that they don’t know how to use.

    1. “Day laborers told the NYPD that they were working on a gas line inside a kitchen in the building, a source told the New York Post. Since 1974, the Department of Buildings slapped 121 2nd Ave. with 12 violations, 10 of which were dismissed, in some cases decades after they were issued. Two remain active. One, issued in March 1989, is for a plumbing violation. A second, issued in February 1991, is for an elevator violation.
      Next door at 119 2nd Ave., the building has a history of boiler violations. The city issued eight violations between March 1991 and March 1999. All but the most recent one have been dismissed. Documents on the Department of Buildings’ website do not specify problems with the boilers.”

      ” FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro said at an afternoon press conference that no gas leak had been reported.
      ‘Some work was going on in the building at the time prior to the explosion,’ said Nigro. ‘To the best of our knowledge they were working on the gas.’
      He explained that Con Ed workers had come to the building for an unrelated reason earlier in the day, noticed the work of the private contractors being done improperly and gave instructions on how to correct it.”

      ” ‘To the best of our knowledge they were working on gas,” Nigro said about the work that took place in one of the buildings by private contractors. “I’m sure by the end of tonight, we’ll know a lot more.’
      De Blasio Said Con Edison workers were inspecting a meter located in 121 2nd Avenue, ‘a separate reason entirely,’ but the meter inspection did not pass the inspection at the time. The mayor added that he would not speculate further on what happened until there is a full report.”

    2. “Construction workers inside a sushi restaurant in the East Village accidentally hit a gas line, causing an explosion that injured 12 people, sparked a massive fire and caused three buildings to collapse, law enforcement sources tell NBC 4 New York.”

      “The cause is under investigation.
      Consolidated Edison inspectors were at the Second Avenue building ‘evaluating the meter installation for a new service … to the building,’ utility President Craig Ivey told reporters. There was a second gas service in operation at the same building.
      The installation of the new meter ‘did not pass our inspection at that time, so it meant it wasn’t ready for gas to be introduced,’ Ivey said.
      Inspectors were at the building at 2 p.m. The blast occurred at 3:17 p.m.
      De Blasio said investigators were talking with the Con Edison employees who inspected the work of private contractors at the building. The name of the contractor was not provided.”

    1. I’m in the West Village. This happened in the East Village. I know the neighborhood. We heard fire truck sirens, from our local station, going by on Bleecker St. and wondered where they were going (grateful that they didn’t stop here [they stop here, or very close by, often]).

  2. I don’t know but it sounds fishy to me, some one should have die in the explosion, I’ve worked 40 years in construction and have worked gas many times if you have a leak, you know it, because you test it. In my time I have ripped 3 (live) gas lines out of the ground with a backhoe and no explosions. Who knows maybe a developer needs the property, everyone is on the take in NYC, all but Angel.

    1. That was my thought – with all that debris, it looked like half the ground floor was blown out onto the sidewalk, how could anyone in there survive that kind of explosion? Coveted property or someone wasn’t paying the local vig?

  3. “…workers at the Second Avenue location accidentally “hit a gas main” and touched off the destruction, a police source said.”


  4. Something seriously stinks about this story; namely the fact that the gas didn’t.

    Gas has to build up for a while in an enclosed space before it can explode like that, and if this leak was caused by construction workers, they would have smelled the gas before enough of it could accumulate to cause this explosion. The piped gas is actually laced with sulfur (I think it’s sulfur) to make it stink, and make these leaks quickly detectable.

    I’ve smelled gas leaks, and they get to the point where your eyes are tearing before anything blows up, so there’s no way they could not have smelled it. These gas explosions usually occur early in the morning because gas accumulates while everyone’s asleep, but it’s hard to imagine an explosion like this occurring while people are awake and working there.

    But if something has to get blown up, I’m glad it was a sushi restaurant. With any luck, it took out a bunch of yuppies.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.