Four New York City residential buildings will have to be demolished after a deadly apartment explosion Tuesday, the city councilmember for the area said.
The Tuesday morning explosion on Fox Street in the south Bronx left 77-year-old Martha Dagbasta dead and seven others injured, including five cops who suffered smoke inhalation trying to rescue one of the other victims from the exploded building.
In a statement, the family said that Dagbasta's sister survived the blast, and is recovering.
Authorities are still combing through the rubble searching for a cause, but the damage is already done. City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca said Wednesday that four buildings -- the one that exploded, the two on either side and one at the end of the block -- will have to be torn down.
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The explosion was initially thought to be gas-related, and sources close to the investigation told NBC New York that natural gas is being eyed as a possible cause, but Con Ed later said it had no indication that was the case. Eyewitnesses told News 4 they heard at least two explosions, followed by flames. Onlookers at first thought it was snowing, until they realized it was ash from the fire coming down instead.
NYPD body camera footage showed the efforts to save a resident after the blast, a woman trapped under debris as homes burned.
"We start removing the couch and I think there was a mattress, I see her feet. When we see her feet, that's when we scop in and I hand her off, my cops and I hand her off to my other officers," said NYPD Captain Anthony Mascia. "I work with a bunch of people with great hearts and they were just trying to save somebody. They heard cries for help and they weren't going to leave until they got to her."
As a result of the blast, 20 people — including two children — were without a home Wednesday night, as the city looked to provide them with temporary and permanent housing.
The fire was about 3 miles south of the deadly Bronx blaze earlier this month that killed 17 people. Many of those victims, some of them young children, were mourned over the weekend.