Apartment Building Explosion

Sunday, October 7th 2007, 6:21 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) Investigators in New York have found no evidence that a gas leak caused an explosion that rocked a Manhattan apartment building and injured more than 20 people, a utility company spokesman said Sunday.

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta had earlier said a gas leak in a first-floor apartment caused Saturday's blast in the Harlem neighborhood.

But officials checked interior and exterior pipes and found that everything was working properly, said Alfonso Quiroz, spokesman for Consolidated Edison.

``We found no evidence of a gas leak,'' Consolidated Edison's Alfonso Quiroz said.

The fire department was still investigating and had no word Sunday on a specific cause of the explosion, which left four girls in critical condition.

The burned children were initially taken to Harlem Hospital, but they were transferred Sunday morning to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center, said Nicole Beason, a spokeswoman for Harlem Hospital.

The mother of the four girls, ages 1 to 5, was also in critical condition, said John Rogers, a spokesman for Weill Cornell.

The building has been shored up, but residents will not be allowed in until it is deemed safe for occupancy, said Robin Brooks, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Buildings.

Some residents said one apartment was operating as an illegal restaurant, cooking and selling takeout food to taxi drivers. But investigators found no evidence of an illegal business in the building, Brooks said.