A three story building at 34 East 62nd Street, between Madison and Park Avenues, has collapsed. Reports say that there was an explosion and fire. It's unclear if there are any people inside. Fire Department staging is at East 65th Street; expect lots of traffic diversions in that area.


Update: The Times is reporting that Con Ed was in the building next door, investigating a gas leak, when the explosion occurred. The White House also chimed in, saying there's no evidence of terrorism. One fatality has been reported.


Update: Reader Gil sent in a picture of the building via A9. Additionally, there are now reports that the doctor who worked in the building may have tried to commit suicide. A coffee cart operator said he saw at least four injured people.

The Fire Department has called a fifth alarm. On the TV news footage, you can see that windows from neighboring building are blown out.

Update: The Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scopetta says that a gas leak caused the explosion. WNYW reports that he also mentioned the doctor sent a suicide email. A commenter also added:

FWIW: A guy I work with knows the doctor who owns the building. The doctor was involved in a financial dispute with his wife over the building and he may have blown it up to commit suicide and keep her from getting the property. The doctor succeeded in destroying the building but he survived the explosion and he's in the hospital now.

Of course, it'll take some time to find out what happened, but if this was a suicide attempt, we find the timing odd because last week, former administrative law judge Larry Feingold was found not guilty of showing "depraved indifference" when his suicide attempt damaged other people's apartments in NYC.


Photographs at top and bottom of the fire and fire department response from Ed Stern on Flickr