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2 NYC buildings collapse in explosion, 3 dead

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published March 12, 2014 at 9:20 a.m. Updated March 12, 2014 at 6:01 p.m.

in-this-image-taken-from-video-from-wabc-firefighters-battle-a-blaze-at-the-site-of-a-possible-explosion-and-building-collapse-in-the-east-harlem-neighborhood-of-new-york-on-wednesday-march-12-2014

In this image taken from video from WABC, firefighters battle a blaze at the site of a possible explosion and building collapse in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

NEW YORK — The New York City fire department says nine people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing three people.

A gas leak triggered the explosion Wednesday morning on Park Avenue and 116th Street in East Harlem. The blast also injured more than 60 people. At least three of the injured were children.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said some of those unaccounted for may have fled to safety. He said the city is expending every effort to locate them.

The White House issued a statement offering "thoughts and prayers" and commending first responders.

The mayor urged worried relatives to call 311. A hotline was being set up.

Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., around 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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