LONGWOOD, the Bronx (PIX11) — A massive explosion at a house in the Bronx Tuesday morning sparked a fire and building collapse that left a woman dead and several people injured, according to police and fire officials.
The call came in just before 11 a.m. for a report of an explosion and building collapse at a private residence near the intersection of Fox Street and Intervale Avenue, in the Longwood section of the borough, FDNY officials said. Police said the blaze was in a three-story residential building.
A woman, 77-year old Martha Dagbasta, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Additional civilians and police officers — nine people total — were injured, according to police and fire officials.
The woman who died and her sister — one of the other injured civilians — were inside the home when it exploded, an FDNY official said. First responders found them lying on the ground outside, the official said.
Mayor Eric Adams called the deadly explosion a “tragic and frightening” incident.
“Our hearts go out to the family members,” of the victims, the mayor said during an afternoon briefing.
A witness told PIX11 News she heard a loud explosion that shook her. When she ran out of her house, she saw a wall of flames. Videos from the scene showed the building completely engulfed in flames as firefighters doused the structure with water. Photos and videos also showed the building had collapsed.
Con Edison shut down gas service in the area around Fox Street between Intervale Avenue and Tiffany Street, according to City Council Member Rafael Salamanca, who represents the South Bronx. Salamanca and other local officials set up a resource center inside St. Athanasius Church on Tiffany Street for victims and families displaced by the explosion.
“With temperatures dropping, we will continue to monitor to ensure a restoration of gas once it is safe to do so,” Salamanca said on Twitter.
The investigation into the cause of the explosion has only just begun, however, an FDNY official said someone reported the smell of gas in the area early Tuesday morning before the blast. Adams vowed to expedite the investigation so that the gas could be safely turned back on in the neighborhood as quickly as possible amid frigid temperatures.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).