What to Know
- A man is accused of cutting the gas line in an attempt to blow up his Manhattan apartment building and kill himself, police say
- The 52-year-old man was the only one injured after a small blast in the basement of the Upper West Side building; his family was not home
- The man was eventually arrested and charged with arson
Police arrested a man who they say cut a gas line at his Upper West Side brownstone in an attempt to blow up the building and kill himself.
There was a small explosion and then a fire in the basement of the man's four-story building on West 94th Street just before 11 p.m. Thursday, according to police.
Police said the man, 52-year-old Charles Welsh, was the only person hurt. He was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries to his leg before being questioned by police and arrested on a charge of arson.
It wasn't immediately clear why he tried to take his own life, but police said he was going through some sort of domestic situation and is emotionally disturbed.
The man's family was not home at the time.
The fire was quickly put out by the FDNY before any serious damage was done, but there was visible damage to the building's basement wall and back door. The wall appeared blown out with bricks and stones scattered along the ground leading to the front entry.
Those who live nearby said they were thankful it wasn't catastrophic.
"I didn't know what it was," Sophie Frankle said. "I thought that's unusual, that's not a normal loud noise."
The building was deemed "structurally sound," according to police. Nobody in neighboring buildings were displaced.
An official at the Department of Buildings told NBC 4 New York that inspectors determined the building isn't in immediate danger of collapse and that neighboring buildings were not affected.
However, the DOB issued a vacate order to the building and planned to have engineers assess the structure Friday to make sure it's structurally sound.
Meanwhile, gas was shut off to the building and a Con Edison crew was seen working in a large hole out front.