UPDATE: Crews Listening, Looking For Any Survivors In NYC Buildi - Northern Michigan's News Leader

UPDATE: Crews Listening, Looking For Any Survivors In NYC Building Explosions

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Searchers are going through the rubble from a gas explosion using sound devices to listen for voices and telescope cameras to see into small spaces.

The Fire Department of New York says they are hoping to find any more survivors.

Officials pulled five bodies from the rubble, taking the death toll to 8.

A handful of occupants of the buildings are still missing. Crews estimate they are halfway through the rubble.

It all happened around 9:30 AM in East Harlem near Park Avenue and 116th Street. A gas leak triggered the explosion.

Just after the five-story building exploded into flames and black smoke, that building and a neighboring apartment building collapsed. A piano shop and church were located in the buildings' store fronts.

The building are located near a major commuter rail line, and the fire department says more than 60 people were hurt and three people died. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio urges worried relative to call 311. 

Con Edison utility company spokesman Bob McGee says a resident in a nearby building reported smelling gas just 15 minutes before the explosion. The resident said the smell could be coming from the outside. The building exploded before utility crews arrived. Con Edison shut off all gas mains leading to the building.

Residents of the building recently complained to the landlord that the smell of gas was so strong that a resident had to break open the door to the roof for ventilation. 

The building with the church got permits to install new gas pipes in June. There are no record of any work being done on the buildings at the time. 

Sidewalks have broken glass from shattered windows for blocks around the explosion site. Witnesses say the blast knocked groceries off shelves at nearby stores. 

The White House released a statement offering "thoughts and prayers." They also commended the first responders.

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