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Explosion

Fifth person dies after Manhattan building collapse

The death toll is expected to rise as the search goes on through the rubble of the two buildings.

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A FIFTH PERSON has died and several are still missing after an explosion caused by a gas leak at a building in New York City yesterday.

Two five-storey buildings were destroyed in the blast in East Harlem, which happened yesterday afternoon at around 2.30pm GMT (9.30am EST).

Almost 200 firefighters were sent to the scene to battle the heavy blaze caused by the explosion, which took hours to extinguish. Reports say that the powerful explosion knocked out windows in nearby shops and apartments.

There were 15 apartments within the two buildings that collapsed.

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(@FDNY/Twitter)

The New York City Fire Department said another five people had serious but non-life threatening injuries, and 20 people had sustained minor injuries in the explosion.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims,” a spokesperson for the FDNY said.

The death toll is expected to rise as the search of the rubble continues. Nine people are still missing.

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(AP Photo/Jeremy Sailing)

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said the incident was a tragedy “of the worst kind” because the smell of gas had been detected “but there was no indication in time to save people”.

An emergency Red Cross centre has been set up nearby to provide food, water and accommodation for people affected by the explosion.

De Blasio praised the emergency services who arrived at the scene within 2 minutes of the explosion.

“Once again we have been shown what our first responders are capable of under extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” said the NYC mayor.

(Video: yourFDNY/YouTube)

Top picture of firefighters at the scene via @BilldeBlasio/Twitter

Read: Two killed, 18 injured in New York gas explosion and building collapse >

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