Gas blast destroys 2 NY buildings; 4 people dead

JAKE PEARSON JONATHAN LEMIRE Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- A fourth person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings. Nine occupants of the buildings are unaccounted for.

Fire Department spokesman Jim Long says the body of an adult male was pulled from the rubble just after midnight Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A gas leak triggered the explosion Wednesday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.

The explosion shattered windows a block away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., around 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.