New York City Building Collapse Injures 12 In Fire Explosion: 'Fire Code Violations' Under Investigation

By Staff Writer | July 12, 2013 12:37 PM EDT

A New York City building collapse follows an explosion and fire in Chinatown Thursday injuring a dozen people, which included firefighters.

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An emergency call about the fire at the five-story brick building, which includes a few businesses on the first level and apartments above, came in around 12:45 p.m., said the fire department to reporters as the New York City building collapsed.

The explosion and fire shattered windows on the first three floors.

Fire Chief John Bley said firefighters could see flames in the back of the New York City building once they arrived and a minor collapse inside. "We opened the front door and could see the fire in the back," Bley said.

"I heard 'boom'," Yi Len told Inquistr. Len is a Long Island resident who was visiting a doctor inside when the explosion happened on the New York City building's ground floor. He said the smell of smoke lingered for about 20 minutes afterward. He also said that he saw a woman be carried off with a bad leg injury and another person be evacuated from a third-floor window.

Another resident, Tszkan Cheung, said he heard a "boom, like a bombing, like an earthquake."

The fire department think pesticide canisters stored inside the building may have been the cause of the explosions that took them 45 minutes to control.

The collapse itself took out three people forcing them to the hospital.

Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Boyce told reporters that the New York City building has "existing fire code violations" that are now being investigated.

No deaths have been reported, just 12 injuries thus far.



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