UPDATE: 3:00 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending a team of experts to New York City to investigate an explosion and building collapse.
The explosion flattened two East Harlem apartment buildings Wednesday as utility workers were on their way to investigate a report of a gas leak. At least two people were killed, more than 20 injured and over a dozen others unaccounted for.
The safety board investigates pipeline accidents as well as accidents involving all modes of transportation.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A man who works in a nearby building says today's explosion that leveled two New York City apartment buildings felt like an earthquake.
Waldemar Infante, who was working in the basement of the neighboring building when the explosion took place, says, "There were glass shards everywhere on the ground and all the stores had their windows blown out."
The explosion left at least two people dead and injured 17 others. It happened after a neighbor reported smelling natural gas.
Con Edison says the person who reported the gas smell said he thought the odor could be coming from outside. A spokesman says the utility dispatched two crews, but they arrived just after the explosion.
The East Harlem neighborhood was at a standstill as police set up barricades to keep residents away from the ruins of the five-story buildings. Thick, acrid smoke filled the air, watering people's eyes. Some wore surgical masks while others held their hands or scarves over their faces.
A resident of one of the destroyed buildings says he heard news of the blast and hurried back from his job. He says he found "nothing left" -- just "a bunch of bricks and wood."