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Three dead, 63 hurt as New York buildings collapse after major explosion

Published on Mar 13, 2014 7:42 AM

NEW YORK (AFP) - A major explosion caused by a gas leak flattened two Manhattan apartment buildings in a fireball on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring 63 others.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident "a tragedy of the worst kind" and warned a number of people were still unaccounted for, raising fears of possible further losses.

Firefighters battled throughout the afternoon to extinguish the heavy fire in East Harlem, where witnesses compared the scene of twisted metal, thick white smoke and dusty rubble to a war zone.

The explosion sparked inevitable reminders for some New Yorkers of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 that brought down the Twin Towers. Other witnesses said it felt like an earthquake.

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