East Village building collapses, huge fire after explosion
"Well an entire BUILDING just collapsed on 2nd Avenue and 7th street in the #EastVillage!!" - mikenouveau
Firefighters were on the scene of an apparent explosion on Thursday afternoon in the East Village, and a building at the site appeared to have been partly destroyed while another building was engulfed in flames.
Francis X. Gribbon, the chief spokesman for the New York Fire Department, said the preliminary indication was that some kind of gas explosion preceded the inferno.
"It was probably a gas thing, it looks like," he said. "But that's not confirmed."
He said one injury had been confirmed so far: a critical injury. He said it was not immediately clear if the buildings were occupied.
By 4:05 p.m., Mr. Gribbon said, the event was in the seventh alarm, meaning that roughly 250 firefighters were on the location from about 50 Fire Department units. The buildings are at 121 and 123 Second Avenue. [NY Times]
Gothamist says, "The FDNY has now confirmed there are multiple injuries at the scene. The residential building has a nail salon (E-Nail) and a women's clothing store (Enz's); it is right next door to vegetarian mainstay B&H Dairy" and that "the neighboring building is also engulfed in flames", and that "According to various people at the scene, the second building (which is reportedly 121 E 2nd Street) has collapsed completely. That building contains Sushi Park; Eater reports that Sushi Park was destroyed, but neighboring
Pomme Fritte is still in one piece." UPDATE: Eater now reports that the building that housed Pomme Fritte is gone too.
The site of the explosion, 2nd Ave between St. Mark's and 7th, is an area long-associated with music and counter-culture history. The corner of St. Mark's and 2nd Ave, currently Gem Spa Magazines, was the corner where the photo on the back cover of the first New York Dolls' album cover was taken. B&H Dairy is one of the most old-school vegetarian restaurants in NYC. 125 2nd Ave was the home of underground rock record store Wowsville (which closed in 2004 with a show Black Lips played). 119 2nd Ave at the corner of 7th St was the home of vintage clothing and collectables store Love Saves The Day. Across the street from where the explosion happened is the old Orpheum Theatre, which is currently the location of STOMP.
UPDATE 2: As of 4:30 PM, NY1 reported that there are 12 injured and three in critical addition. No fatalities have been reported.
UPDATE 3: NBC New York now confirms that it was a gas line, which construction workers accidentally hit in the sushi restaurant.
UPDATE 4: Gothamist reports that Mayor de Blasio said, "The actual explosion occurred at 121, which caused it to partially collapse, and 123 collapsed as well." 119 and 125 2nd Ave were also both affected.
As of this post. 2nd Ave is now closed from 14th St to Houston.
UPDATE: The band Public Access TV lived in one of the buildings.