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New York police and fire officials were responding to reports of a massive explosion in Manhattan's East Harlem, authorities said Wednesday.
At least 11 minor injuries were reported as clouds of dark smoke rose over the residential neighborhood of red-brick tenements
"I hope there is no one in there. It's just rubble," a worker at a nearby flea market said.
At least 168 firefighters from 39 New York City Fire Department units were at the scene.
Metro North commuter rail service, which runs along the site of the blast on Park Avenue, was suspended.
Clouds of dark smoke could be seen for a three-block radius as hundreds of rescue officials descended on the scene.
In the immediate aftermath, witnesses described a panicked scene, with people running, unsure what was happening.
"I heard this loud explosion and I just jumped and all my windows popped in," David Ramirez, 55, who lives in the area, told The New York Times. "My building shook and smoke started coming in."
A firefighter surveys the damage at the scene of the building collapse.
Utility workers look at a gas line near the scene of a massive building explosion in East Harlem.
Firefighters head to the scene of the building collapse.
Fire crews spray water on the smoldering wreckage of an apartment building that collapsed in East Harlem.
Rapper 50 Cent arriving at the Sun Prairie Woodman's July 29.
Rap artist 50 Cent was at a Sun Prairie grocery store Wednesday to promote his vodka brand at Woodman's.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
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PHOTO BY BILL LUBING
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