The initial blast was reported at 3:17 p.m. on Thursday. According to the Associated Press, the explosion and ensuing fire leveled three apartment buildings and damaged a fourth. In total, about 50 units were destroyed. The New York Timesreported 19 people were injured and at least two are missing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference the initial explosion that started the blaze may have been gas-related.
De Matteo, who lived at the apartment for more than two decades, posted a photo of the aftermath and wrote, "A hole where my NYC home of the last 22 years once stood… RIP 123 2nd Avenue."