U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, whose district includes Manhattan’s Harlem neighbourhood, compared the explosions that killed at least two people and led to two building collapses in the area Wednesday morning to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
“This is a very serious thing. It’s our community’s 9/11, even though we don’t know how it started,” Rangel told NBC New York, according to Politico, hours after the explosion. “The whole New York delegation has been concerned, and members that are not in committee are glued to the television. And hearing reports from you makes us at least a little closer to home.”
The explosion in Harlem triggered a five-alarm fire, leading at least 168 fire officials to immediately respond. Two buildings on Park Avenue between 116th and 117th streets collapsed.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio later told reporters it was the result of a gas leak that was reported to electric company ConEd about 15 minutes earlier.
Rangel, who is currently serving his 22nd term in Congress, said he’s “never had anything this horrific that’s happened in my community since I’ve been in Washington.”
“I hope that soon, and very soon, it will be contained and we can go back to some degree of normal normalcy,” Rangel told NBC.
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