This just in
Flickr CC By: Adnan Islam
At least two women are dead, 18 are injured and several others are missing following an explosion that toppled two buildings in Manhattan this morning. In a press conference, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the East Harlem blast was a "tragedy of the worst kind." He confirmed that the cause was a gas leak and not an act of terrorism. The gas leak was reported to Con Edison about 15 minutes before the explosion, he said.
"This is going to be an extended operation," he said, adding that the FDNY will conduct a "thorough search" of the area. The fire is still not under control, and is hampering search efforts by rescuers. Once the flames are contained, firefighters will begin sifting through the debris to locate victims.
Newsday has more from the mayor's press conference.