Two bodies were found on Sunday at the site of a gas explosion that destroyed four New York City apartment buildings last week, injuring 22 people, and officials were working to determine if they were those of two men unaccounted for, police said.
The bodies, whose genders were not immediately given, were recovered amid the rubble left by the blast and fire in Manhattan’s East Village neighbourhood on Thursday, the New York City Police Department said.
It was not immediately clear if the remains belonged to the two people who remain unaccounted for, police said. The first body was transported from the site on Sunday afternoon to the medical examiner’s office, police said.
“The medical examiner will determine the cause of death,” New York Police Department spokesman Sergeant Brendan Ryan said.
Rescue crews with cadaver dogs dug through smouldering rubble on Saturday in the search for the two people unaccounted for after Thursday’s explosion. The missing men were identified as Moises Lucon, age 27 or 28, and Nicholas Figueroa, 23.
In all, 11 buildings were evacuated, leaving residents of 144 apartments homeless.
Investigators were looking into whether gas and plumbing work being done privately in one building led to the explosion, and utility Con Edison said that its utility crew found dangerous gas line connections that created a “hazardous situation” during a visit in August.
The crew was sent to the building after a Con Edison worker reading gas meters smelled gas on Aug. 6 in the basement, company spokesman Allan Drury said.