Building collapses in Manhattan

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Monday, July 10, 2006

New York City — A four-story building on 62nd Street in Manhattan collapsed after an explosion Monday. Both the White House and New York Fire Department have said the explosion was not caused by a terrorist attack. The New York Fire Department said that the owner of the building, Dr. Nicholas Bartha, might have deliberately caused the explosion in a suicide attempt after a difficult divorce.

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According to the latest reports, five people were injured by the blast, one of whom was hospitalised in critical condition. An additional ten firefighters were injured in the following rescue operation. No deaths have been reported.

Most sources give the cause as a natural gas leak that ignited; a ConEd spokesperson said that someone had reported a gas leak to them about one and a half hours before the explosion took place. The resulting fire, which began in the basement, burned strongly for some time, but was later brought under control by firefighters.

Numerous people described the shockwave from the blast as being similar to an earthquake.

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