1 dead, 3 injured in Borough Park explosion

Credit: Viewer Lisa Velez

Credit: Viewer Lisa Velez (10/3/15)

BROOKLYN - Fire officials say one person was killed and three others were injured after an explosion sparked a fire at a Borough Park building.

The flames broke out at a residential building located on 43rd Street at 13th Avenue moments after 1 p.m. Fire officials believe the fire began on the second floor of the building.

The deceased victim was a woman who has not yet been identified. Officials say she was found in the stairwell of the building.

Three people were injured, one of them critically. They were outside of the building and were struck by debris from the explosion. They have not been identified, but officials say they are a 10-year-old boy, a 27-year-old man and a 33-year-old man.

Officials say that five firefighters were also treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Initial reports indicated that it was a gas explosion, but investigators have not yet positively confirmed the cause. Fire officials say a "stove exchange" was going on at the time, in which a resident who was moving was taking out a high-end stove that operated on natural gas. Fire officials caution that the incident remains under investigation, however.

The building is still smoldering, although the fire is contained, according to fire officials. It has not yet been fully searched because of the possibility that the structure could collapse.

Property records describe the building as residential, with space for a store or office.

A neighbor who spoke to News 12 said the blast "felt like an earthquake," and said his building two doors down was shaking.

Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference at the scene of the explosion with FDNY officials Saturday evening. He praised the NYPD for its quick response time of less than three minutes.

In a statement about the explosion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "This explosion is the latest in a disturbing trend of incidents that occurred in Harlem and the East Village. In light of this, I am directing the state Department of Public Service to undertake an investigation into the cause of this incident... On behalf of all New Yorkers, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by today's explosion, especially the friends and family of those lost or injured."

The mayor and other officials said at the news conference that the gas incidents that the governor referred to were all separate incidents caused by different problems. But city officials are urging residents to call 911 as soon as they smell natural gas.

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