New York City blast kills 7; injures more than 60

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The search for survivors and answers continues after a deadly blast in Harlem killed seven people and hurt more than 60 others.

Around 4:30 Thursday morning the death toll rose to seven after a massive explosion — which is thought to be caused by a gas leakit thought to be a gas leak near 116th street and Park Avenue.

This morning the worst is feared for those still missing.

Haunting images of damage released by the FDNY from inside the explosion zone showing firefighters battling flames, sifting through debris, and searching for survivors.

“A couple of bodies.. on the ground.. everyone was screaming and hollering,” says a woman who witnessed the blast.

U.S. Marines Sergeant Rasheem Thomas is on leave, but was nearby.

He rushed to the scene in time to pull a man trapped in a car.

“I couldn’t get his seatbelt off.. we cut it…. pulled him out… and them ems took him from there,” says Sgt. Rasheem Thomas.

“I was scared. I didn’t know what to do,” says a woman who witnessed the blast.

People were barricaded inside their buildings until a neighbor freed them.

“Before I seen him, I thought I was going to die in my apartment and my kids wouldn’t have a mom,” says a woman who was trapped inside.

Residents say they could smell gas the night before, and Con Ed says it didn’t receive a call until 9:13 Wednesday morning, just minutes before the explosion.

“This is a tragedy of the worst kind because there was no indication in time to save people,” says Bill De Blasio, New York City’s Mayor.

Officials confirmed the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

The buildings housed 15 apartments, a storefront church, and a piano store.

The collapsed buildings had multiple active safety violations and evidence of structural integrity problems which is one reason the National Transportation Safety Board is helping the city investigate.

Tuesday night, city leaders released the identities of two of the six killed.

They’re a 67 year old and a public safety officer who worked at a nearby college.

Among the dead are two men and four women.

Stay with FOX43 for the latest updates.