March 13, 2014 - 14:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - At least six people have died and several are missing after a gas leak sparked an explosion which leveled two buildings in New York City, according to BBC News.
Scores of others were injured in the incident, which sent smoke billowing into the city sky.
Rescue crews began searching the debris on Wednesday evening for victims after the fire was finally put out.
Train services to and from Grand Central Terminal have been restored after a complete halt earlier.
As the search-and-rescue operation continued under floodlights on Wednesday, March 12 night, the emergency services confirmed that the death toll had risen first to four, then to five and to six, with several people still missing.
Earlier, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference from the scene that the gas leak had been reported to the utility company 15 minutes before the blast on Wednesday morning.
Heavy equipment, including a bulldozer, helped clear the remnants of two multi-storey buildings. Thermal imaging cameras were brought in to identify bodies or pockets of fire inside the mountain of debris.
The New York fire department said 22 people had been hurt, but a tally of local hospitals by ABC News found that 64 had been admitted with injuries as a result of the incident. That figure included seven children, one of whom was in a critical condition.
Streets and pavements around the site were littered with broken glass from shattered windows.
The blast scattered debris across nearby rooftops, destroying adjoining five-storey buildings in a largely Latino working-class neighborhood.