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Dramatic video shows East Harlem explosion in progress

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Dramatic video shows East Harlem explosion in progress

By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Mar 15, 2014

Shards of glass fly, debris rains down, rats scurry across the sidewalk and a man staggers and is nearly knocked to the ground before black smoke billows. Those are some of the dramatic images captured by security cameras mounted on the street where this week’s deadly explosion took place in east Harlem, N.Y., killing eight people, injuring more than 60 others and completely destroying two buildings.

Now, New York’s CBS 2 has exclusively obtained footage from two cameras on the street, and one inside a nearby mini market, showing the devastation in progress. Watch the footage in the video player above.
 
As CBS 2 reports, “First, video from a camera pointing north on Park Avenue shows windows shattering seemingly out of nowhere, and debris begins raining down onto the sidewalk. Then, on the opposite side of the street, a cloud of thick, black smoke begins to envelop everything as the buildings explode” and begin to fall.
 
“A man walking across the street is nearly knocked off his feet by the blast,” CBS 2 reports. “He ducks, tries to cover his head, and is then pushed back in a state of apparent disorientation. The man was caught up in a tornado of paper and pieces of flying debris as the windows shattered. Meanwhile, a tree and a ‘no parking’ sign struggle to stay upright in the midst of a fierce blast.”
 
Another security camera captures the blast from the opposite angle. Watch for several rats on the move seconds before the appearance of debris.
 
The videos will be used by investigators as they search for answers about the exact cause of the explosion, likely due to a gas leak. The leak has yet to be found, but CBS 2 reports that the National Transportation Safety Board’s Robert Sumwalt “revealed Friday that Con Ed crews found a concentration of as high as 20 percent natural gas below ground near the scene of the blast, where there should have been no gas at all. He also revealed that the gas main buried under Park Avenue near the scene at 116th Street dated back 127 years to 1887.”