Mayor Bill de Blasio today said he had no regrets about agency staffing following this morning’s massive East Harlem explosion, which collapsed two buildings, killing at least two and leaving more than a dozen injured. The explosion appears to have been caused by gas.
Speaking at a briefing a block from the site–which remained smoldering, with more than 250 firefighters on scene more than three hours after the blast–Mr. de Blasio heaped praise on emergency workers and first responders, including the Department of Building’s Acting Commissioner Thomas Fariello.
Earlier this morning, President Barack Obama signed official directives naming the states of New York and New Jersey disaster zones, allowing for additional federal aid to assist recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. In New York, Mr. Obama’s order only stands for the five boroughs and Long Island for now.
It’s still difficult to evaluate the exact costs of the storm. At least seven people have died in the state, millions are without electricity, and major transportation networks are flooded.
We’re officially in a state of emergency.
After signing emergency declarations for Maryland and Massachusetts, President Barack Obama did the same for New York this evening, effective across all 62 counties in the Empire State. The move, which allows federal aid to assist in response and recovery efforts, comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon.