Following Thursday’s explosion in East Village, New York, two people still remain unaccounted for. Now police officials and firefighters are continuing to work into Friday to extinguish the remaining fires and pile through the wreckage from the Manhattan explosion.
The explosion in East Village, at the corner of 7th and 2nd ave, destroyed four New York buildings and injured 25 people. Two buildings collapsed, and the other two adjacent buildings caught on fire. Initially others were thought to be missing, but have since been accounted for.
Blood smeared victims ran frantically through the inferno, and frenzied residents ran down fire escapes, helped by good Samaritan by-standers in daring rescue efforts.
At the center of the explosion is a sushi restaurant, Sushi Park. The investigation on what exactly caused the blast will be centered on the plumbing and gas work done at the restaurant.
The contractor who was working on the construction at the restaurant, Dilber Kukic, 39, was injured during the explosion. Mr. Kukic is a general contractor from Neighborhood Construction, a Bronx firm.
In February, Kukic held a separate charge from the Manhattan district attorney’s office with bribing an undercover posing as a housing inspector. He has pled not guilty in that case, but the case is ongoing.
Workers from the utility Consolidated Edison had previously visited the restaurant just one hour before the blast and found the work there to be deficient.
Two victims have not yet been accounted for. One of the individuals was identified as Nicholas Figueroa, 23, who was said to be on a date with a co-worker in the sushi restaurant. There are accounts from his bank statement that showed he had paid a $13.04 bill to Sushi Park. He has not been heard from since, but his co-worker was hospitalized for injuries from the blast.
The second man missing is said to be a busboy of the restaurant, although a spokesman for the Fire Department stated that the missing persons list could change at this time.
The Red Cross has also stated that 83 adults and an infant was displaced by the explosion and had to be relocated to a nearby school. The cause of the Manhattan explosion is still under investigation, but evidence points to gas related problems. In the meantime, travel within the area should be safe after fires die down and the damage is localized.