UPDATE: Explosion in Manhattan, 7 fatalities and 40 injuries are reported
NEW YORK – On Wednesday morning at 9:31 a.m. (EST), an explosion occurred near 116th Street and Park Avenue that destroyed two buildings.
The explosion and five-alarm fire, leveled two five-story buildings that killed at least seven people and injured more than 40.
Authorities are saying that the explosion was possibly caused by a gas leak, but have yet to determine to an official cause.
According to reports, a witness said that there was a strong smell of gas, and a gas and energy company were on there way to investigate a gas leak right before the explosion.
Firefighters arrived to the scene two minutes after the explosion took place and began to put out the fire.
250 firefighters responded to the explosion to assist in putting the fire out, as well as pulling bricks near the collapse.
In his live news conference, New York City Mayor De Blasio announced that the explosion has had heavy impact on surrounding buildings.
The only indication of danger came 15 minutes before the explosion took place and Con Edison, an electric and natural gas provider, was on their way to investigate a gas leak when the explosion took place.
Utility workers tore up pavement in an effort to shut gas lines in the area.
Officials say that nine people are still unaccounted for and more fatalities are likely.