A gas explosion reportedly levelled two buildings in New York City, killing two people.
Reports claim the blast, which was sparked by a gas leak in East Harlem, also injured at least 20 people.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said 250 firefighters were at the scene to tackle the blaze and with the necessary equipment to deal with the rubble from the building.
He added the gas leak had been reported to utility company Con Edison just 15 minutes before the blast yesterday morning during a press conference.
It received a call from a neighbouring building about a possible gas leak at 9.13am. Residents heard a large explosion around 9.30am and the New York fire department received its first call about the incident at 9.31am.
“There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety but suffice to say that every effort is being expended to locate each and every one of these individuals”, Mr Blasio said.
New York fire department Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, who was also present at the press conference said that firefighters could have died had they arrived at the scene any earlier.