(Update) Eight confirmed dead in East Harlem explosion, all reported missing found

Emergency workers and firefighters use a gurney to transport an injured victim from the site of a building collapse and fire in Harlem, New York, March 12, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Emergency workers and firefighters use a gurney to transport an injured victim from the site of a building collapse and fire in Harlem, New York, March 12, 2014. Credit: Reuters

An eighth person was confirmed dead Thursday evening in the apparent gas explosion that leveled two buildings in East Harlem on Wednesday morning.

At least 60 people were also injured after two Park Avenue buildings collapsed following a blast near 116th Street. Three people were confirmed dead on Wednesday and firefighters sifting through the rubble found four more bodies that night into Thursday morning.

FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano said Friday that all people reported missing have been found, but that the search of the wreckage will continue. Debris will be transported to a lot on Randall’s Island where forensic tests will be conducted as part of an investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still trying to determine the source of the gas leak that may have sparked the explosion, but fire officials said that the blast site is still too dangerous for investigators to step in.

The NTSB will soon develop a timeline of events based on 311 and 911 records, along with interviews with witnesses, first responders and injured victims.

Investigators were also looking into the possibility that a water main break, which formed a large sinkhole, may have damaged the gas line. Officials said Thursday, however, that it was too soon to tell whether the gas leak occurred before or after the water main break.

Those killed have been identified as Griselde Camacho, 44, Carmen Tanco, 67, Rosaura Hernandez Barrios, 22, Rosaura Barrios Vazquez, 43, Andreas Panagopoulos, 43, George Amadeo, 44, and Alexis Salas, 22. Barrios Vazquez was the mother of Hernandez Barrios, according to police.

The eighth victim has not yet been identified, police said on Friday morning.

Additional reporting by Anna Sanders.


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