Enormous piles of rubble covered the streets of New York City's East Village Friday, the morning after an explosion and 7-alarm blaze destroyed three buildings.
Two people were still unaccounted for as dogs searched through the wreckage surrounding 121 Second Avenue. On Thursday afternoon, an explosion in the building's basement led to a massive fire that quickly spread to neighboring structures. As of Friday morning, 25 people were injured, four of those in critical condition. Those still missing were Nicholas Figueroa, who was on a date in a restaurant inside the building where the explosion occurred, and Moises Lucon, a worker at the same restaurant.
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Though the cause of the explosion has still not been officially determined, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference that it appears to have been caused by a gas leak.
Contractor Dilber Kukic, 39, said he was investigating a gas odor in the basement when the blast occurred. “As soon as we opened the basement door, there was an explosion, a fire,” he told DNA Info. "It was full of smoke. The debris was on top of me.”