An explosion in New York’s Chinatown caused a building to partial collapse. A total of twelve people were injured during the collapse including four firefighters injured on the job. The injured were taken to Beth Israel Hospital.
The building is said to have collapsed from the inside but there was no word yet on what triggered the explosion. The old building contains a beauty salon. Residents in the area reported smoke after hearing the explosion. The smoke was reportedly white in color at first but soon turned a gray color. Residents in the area stated they were trying to help the elderly neighbors get to safety. The building has five floors and in addition to the salon, several residences are located in the upper floors.
A heavy fire started after the explosion. Firefighters were able to rescue people from the building who were reportedly covered in blood. The injured victims suffered burns and smoke inhalation including the four firefighters. Officials believe a gas explosion may be the cause of the blast.
The Department of Buildings has previously issued violations at the address for failure to maintain the property. These violations were issued in 2009 and were both resolved. An inspector had noted on one of those occasions that the building had a potentially threat in that there was a ‘danger of collapse’. A current investigation into the latest incident is still ongoing.