Metro-North service fully restored after building explosion - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Metro-North service fully restored after building explosion in NYC

Posted: Updated:
Joseph F. Bruno, commissioner of the New York City Office of Emergency Management . (WFSB photo) Joseph F. Bruno, commissioner of the New York City Office of Emergency Management . (WFSB photo)

A building explosion in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan left three people dead and halted Metro-North service in Harlem on Wednesday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said several people were also missing. Officials said there was no number on how many people were unaccounted for but that at least 50 people were displaced. They were being helped by the American Red Cross.

Fire officials said the explosion happened in the area of 116th Street and Park Avenue. They also said it reached five alarms.

Police said three people were killed, at least 20 others were injured and at least a dozen are missing or unaccounted for, according to emergency officials on scene.

No other information about the victims was available.

Sources said Consolidated Edison was responding to a possible gas leak before the explosion. A neighbor reported smelling natural gas in the area at 9:13 a.m.

By 9:15, a Con Ed crew was dispatched.

The explosion happened at about 9:40 a.m., according to Con Ed.

Officials said they were treating it as a gas explosion and not a terrorist attack.

There were reports that at least two buildings have collapsed on Park Avenue between 114th Street and 117th Street.

The New York Police Department and the fire department were on the scene. The bomb squad was also called as a precaution.

Metro-North officials said service was suspended because of debris on the tracks. It tweeted that passengers would be notified about alternative routes.

All four rail lines for Metro-North including the New Haven and Harlem lines were restored; however, officials said travelers should expect heavy delays during the evening commute.

The New Haven and Harlem lines, which were the farthest from the explosion site, were cleared of debris and inspected. Officials at Metro-North and the New York City Fire Department said the New Haven and Harlem lines were restored at about 4 p.m.

"As more tracks are restored, the level of train service will increase. Train speeds may also be reduced to protect nearby railroad workers and to limit vibrations at the explosion site," Metro-North said in a release Wednesday.

Service was restored to all four rail lines and service is running normally, officials said.

Metro-North officials said, "Customers should expect crowding and delays due to track limitations, with some local and express trains combined."

The MTA reported that there were no stranded trains. Power was cut to tracks in the neighborhood of the explosion.

It urged customers to limit travel Wednesday if they can. 

"Customers are urged to delay travel until later if possible," Metro-North officials said.

The cause remains unclear, officials said.

The fire department said nearly 200 firefighters responded to the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board has a "go-team" headed to New York City to investigate the explosion.

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