Hours after a thunderous explosion rocked upper Manhattan, firefighters were still working to put out the smoldering wreckage of two flattened buildings.
cellphone video/WCBS-TV Exclusive
Cellphone video shot moments after the explosion shows people racing to help - and flames shooting up from piles of bricks and debris.
Officials say a gas leak was reported at one of the buildings about 15 minutes before the earth-shaking blast.
Two five story buildings housing a Spanish church, a piano repair shop, and several apartments collapsed
Bill DeBlasio/New york Mayor says, "This is a tragedy of the worst kind because there was no indication in time to save people."
Darnella Mason lives two buildings away from the blast site, and says the explosion threw her out of bed.
What did it feel like for you? DARNELLA: I thought i was going to die. i thought it was a bomb or the end of the world.
The explosion- shortly after 9 this morning - sent a thick cloud of smoke and dust over East Harlem. First responders wore masks to protect themselves.
Emergency workers also handed out particle masks to people in the neighborhood warning there could be asbestos and other toxic debris in the air.
Buildings in the immediate area were evacuated,. There was so much wreckage scattered on the nearby train tracks that train service in the area was suspended for the day. Alexis Christoforous, CBS News, New York.
The FBI says two agents who happened to be driving by the buildings during the explosion were injured, but not seriously.