Authorities respond to massive explosion in East Harlem

Posted at 10:32 AM, Mar 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-12 13:49:18-04

(CNN) — New York police and fire officials were responding to reports of a massive explosion in Manhattan’s East Harlem, authorities said Wednesday.

Two people have died and at least 11 minor injuries have been reported as a result of the explosion and building collapse, an NYPD detective said.

Both of the dead are female, according to the officer; their names have not been released.

Metro North commuter rail service, which runs along the site of the blast on Park Avenue, was suspended, officials said.

“Two buildings have collapsed. I hope there is no one in there. It’s just rubble,” a worker at a nearby flea market said.

Clouds of dark smoke could be seen for a three-block radius as hundreds of rescue officials descended on the scene.

CNN first learned of this story via Twitter.