Chilling account from a Manhattan man who says his business was destroyed in the building collapse

Tarun Kundu, kings copies, nyc fireMelia Robinson/Business InsiderTarun Kundu owned the ground-level store of the New York City building that collapsed on Thursday.

An explosion shook the East Village neighbourhood of Manhattan shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, causing a massive fire and a partial building collapse.

Tarun Kundu, owner of the collapsed building’s ground-level printing shop Kings Copies, was in the building when it caught fire, and he saw his beloved business ostensibly burn to the ground.

“I fell out of my chair because of the noise and vibrations,” Kundu says. The glass store window shattered. “I get up, I look at all the smoke, and I just get out — without my shoes!”

He says he was the only employee inside. A single customer ran out with him.

“First, I thought maybe [it was] a manhole explosion. Normally it happens,” Kundu says. “But then I saw the smoke coming from the building.”

Sarah Schmalbruch/Business InsiderSmoke from the building could be seen and smelled from blocks away.

Tenants gathered outside, contemplating the cause of the explosion, and police quickly ushered them away. Kundu says the landlord has not yet contacted him as to the cause of the fire or the state of his store.

Tarun Kundu shoes, kings copies, nyc fireMelia Robinson/Business InsiderTarun Kundu didn’t have time to escape the building with proper shoes.

“Eighteen years, this is my business. Eighteen years, this my store,” Kudnu says, wearing a ragged pair of Birkenstocks in the light rain. “My store is completely finished.”

After speaking with Business Insider, Kundu walked to the train to go home to Queens.

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