At least two people are thought to be missing after an explosion sent flames tearing through a Manhattan building, according to BBC.
The blast, the result of faulty utility work, caused three buildings to collapse on Thursday, injuring 19 people, four critically.
Fire fighters and medical staff have been working through the night.
The city mayor’s office and the New York Police Department say two people are missing, but note that the situation is fluid.
Earlier, NYPD officials told the BBC that as many as six people were missing. They say that they are investigating all leads, and the number may rise.
Officials said early indications are that the explosion was caused by shoddy plumbing and gas work inside one of the buildings.
Utility inspectors declared the work faulty just an hour before the blast tore through a restaurant that occupied the ground floor and sparked a fire that continues to burn.
At daybreak about 50 fire fighters remained at the scene in Manhattan’s East Village.
As the fire smoulders, families are desperately searching for loved ones.
Nicholas Figueroa, 23, was on a date at a sushi restaurant affected by the explosion and remains unaccounted for, his brother, Tyler, said.
His date, who lies in hospital, remembers only stumbling out of the restaurant before losing consciousness.
“I just pray my brother shows up,” Tyler Figueroa said.
The couple is said to have been paying for their meal when the explosion happened.