Monday, July 10, 2006

One Block From Work...

An explosion and fire shortly before 9 a.m. today collapsed a building in a residential area of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, on 62nd Street between Madison and Park Avenues.

The owner, and apparently sole occupant of the building at 34 East 62nd Street, Dr. Nicholas Bartha, was extracted from the bottom of the pile of rubble shortly after 10 a.m. He was evidently in critical condition with burns and other injuries, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said.

Dr. Bartha, whose has medical offices and a residential apartment in the building, contacted fire officials after the explosion by portable telephone and helped guide them to his location, Mr. Scoppetta said.

There were other civilian injuries, Mr. Scoppetta said, evidently to people who were on the street when the building exploded. He said their “injuries are not serious.” Several firefighters were injured as well.

He said that some residents of the area had reported smelling gas and that Consolidated Edison trucks and crews were in the area when the blast happened. Mr. Scoppetta said a gas explosion appeared to be the cause of the blast and that it happened in the lower part of the building.

He and other authorities have ruled out a terrorist attack.


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