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UPDATE: Death toll rises after NYC building explosion

Rescue teams continue searching for missing people in the rubble

(Associated Press)

A sixth person has been confirmed killed by an explosion that flattened two New York City apartment buildings.
    
Fire department spokesman Michael Parrella says the body of an unidentified male was found in the rubble around 3:15 a.m. EDT Thursday.
    
A half hour earlier, a woman's body had been found.

Rescue workers began the search for victims Wednesday evening amid the broken bricks, splintered wood and mangled metal after firefighters spent most of the day dousing the flames. Heavy equipment, including back hoes and a bulldozer, arrived to clear the mountain of debris where the two five-story East Harlem buildings stood. Flood lights were put in place. Thermal imaging cameras were used to identify heat spots which could be bodies or pockets of fire.
    
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; one, a 15-year-old boy, was reported in critical condition with burns, broken bones and internal injuries. Most of the other victims' injuries were minor and included cuts and scrapes.
    
The explosion shattered windows a block away, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

``It felt like an earthquake had rattled my whole building,'' said Waldemar Infante, a porter who was working in a basement nearby. ``There were glass shards everywhere on the ground, and all the stores had their windows blown out.''
    
Authorities say the fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., about 15 minutes after a neighbouring resident reported smelling gas.

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