A massive explosion at house in the New York City borough of the Bronx reportedly killed one firefighter and injured several other first responders, including police officers, on Tuesday morning.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Home Blew Up With Firefighters Right Outside
Firefighters from the Fire Department of New York responded to a report of a gas leak in a two-story private home at 300 W. 234th Street in the Bronx at about 6:20 a.m. First responders were standing on a street outside the house at 7:30 a.m. when the whole place exploded.
The site of the blast is located in Kingsbridge, a largely middle class and working-class neighborhood in the northwest region of The Bronx, which is the northernmost of New York’s five boroughs and the only one located on the mainland.
“I thought it was very loud,” neighborhood resident David Khabinsky told The New York Times. “Then five minutes later you hear police sirens, and then helicopter after helicopter after helicopter.”
2. Police Say the House Was an Illegal Drug Lab
When firefighters entered the house, they found what appeared to be a homemade drug manufacturing inside. Police now suspect that the drug lab itself may have been the cause of the blast.
The house was an illegal marijuana growing facility that police had known about for roughly a week. Investigators suspect a propane gas tank used to heat the makeshift marijuana greenhouse may have caused the blast.
3. An FDNY Captain Died From Injuries Sustained in the Blast
According to a report in The New York Daily News, one firefighter has died from injuries incurred in the blast and six police officers were also reported injured and rushed to North Central Bronx Hospital. Their conditions were not clear as of 10 a.m. local time.
Twelve people in total were reported injured, according to a statement by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. They included at least one civilian who declined medical attention.
The FDNY confirmed the death of one firefighter. A report by WNBC TV in New York said that the firefighter was killed by “falling debris” after the house containing the alleged drug lab exploded.
The fire chief was Michael Fahy, a father of three and 17-year veteran of the city’s firefighting force, according to a report in The New York Post.
Fahy was a fire chief with FDNY Engine 81, Ladder 46, according to a report by the cable news channel News 12 The Bronx.
“We lost a hero today and our members are all saddended,” FDNY Comissioner Daniel Nigro said.
4. The Explosion Was Felt 3 Blocks Away
“When it exploded, 3 blocks away me and my son were in my apartment and the entire building shook,” wrote one Instagram user who posted a picture of the destroyed home.
“It was a big explosion, big explosion,” said another witness, Jay Soto, 57, in an interview with The New York Post. “Everyone came out and asked, ‘What was that?’ I could see that it was serious. There are many ambulances and firetrucks. I saw black smoke.”
5. Traffic Has Been Backed Up As Streets Were Closed
West 234th Street between Tibbet Avenue and Irwin Avenue has been completely blocked off to traffic as about 100 firefighters continue to secure the explosion scene, according to social media reports.