Photo Essay

  • Firefighters are pictured during the removal of debris after an explosion in in East Harlem caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • Firefighters are pictured during the removal of debris after an explosion in in East Harlem that caused the collapse of two buildings, 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue. Authorities say the explosion was caused by a gas leak. March 12, 2014.
  • A man is pictured close to the site in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • Police and passersby are pictured close to the entrance of the fenced area in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • An onlooker is pictured close to the site in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. As of Thursday morning, seven people were confirmed dead in the blast. March 12, 2014.
  • Firefighters are pictured during the removal of debris after an explosion in East Harlem caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • A man is pictured in the area in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings that authorities said was caused by gas leak. March 12, 2014.
  • A man is pictured near the site in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • A closed store window is pictured a few blocks away from the site in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • An explosion in a building in East Harlem was caused by a gas leak, according to authorities. Seven people have been confirmed dead, and several are still missing. March 12, 2014.
  • Police are pictured at the entrance of the fenced off area in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • Passersby are pictured near the entrance of the fenced off area in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two buildings.
  • A man is pictured in a deli near the site in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two buildings. March 12, 2014.
  • An pedestrian is pictured close to the site in East Harlem where an explosion caused the collapse of two apartment buildings. March 12, 2014.
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Aftermath of the NYC building explosion

Updated

An explosion triggered by a gas leak brought down two buildings Tuesday in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. Seven people have been confirmed dead, and five people are still missing.

The buildings, located near the intersection of 116 St. and Park Avenue in Upper Manhattan, housed a church, a piano repair shop and residential apartments.

New York-based photographer Gaia Squarci had just landed in the city when she heard news of the explosion, and she arrived at the scene around 5 p.m. “There were only a few people left and a couple of news crews” she told msnbc. “It was raining and the site was very quiet. Besides the sound of the crane and the trains passing above, it was almost silent.”

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography.