New York Building Collapse: 12 Injured, 4 firefighters, In Chinatown Roach Bomb Explosion [UPDATE, VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on July 11, 2013 9:14 PM EDT

Building collapse in NYC
Building collapse in NYC occurred Thursday, 12:45 p.m. 17 Pikes Street pictured. (Photo: Google Map)

A Chinatown building collapse in NYC occurred on Thursday, injuring a dozen people, two critically. Four of the 12 injured were firefighters.

According to reports, a blaze tore through the 70-year-old Chinatown structure, 17 Pike Street. A police source revealed that roach bombs were improperly used inside the building, triggering an explosion near the rear of a hair salon on the first floor at approximately 12:45 p.m., Thursday. A violent shock, the explosion and fire caused the ceiling of the building to partially collapse. Fire investigators found boxes of Raid foggers and decon bombs at the site.

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According to FDNY Assistant Chief Robert Boyce, fire inspectors are also checking to see whether a gas leak was also involved. The triggered explosion caused a rapidly spreading fire that consumed the upper floors of the five-story building. As the situation quickly went bad to worse, the fire crew arrived to the building collapse in just three minutes and quickly began to rescue individuals trapped inside. One unconscious man in the upper floors was saved via ladder bucket and was quickly administered oxygen.

Eight victims inside the building collapse in NYC were successfully pulled out. Unfortunately two are in critical, and two are in serious condition. According to FDNY Assistant Chief Boyce, the injuries include smoke inhalation and second-degree burns. Four firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the immense fire, which took an hour to contain.

"[We] ran right outside," said Mei, who escaped the fire and building collapse in NYC. "I got out and there were these huge flames behind me."

While the improper use of roach bombs were the cause of the fire, the structural integrity of the building is also called to serious question.

"We did have existing codes violations for this building. We're looking into them," Boyce said without elaborating.

UPDATE: The American Red Cross is providing emergency housing for 28 adults and three children left homeless after the New York building collapse. An order to vacate the building was issued.

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