A gas leak and explosion on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street yesterday afternoon destroyed three buildings, causing havoc in New York’s East Village. Two restaurants, Sushi Park
and neighborhood favorite Pommes Frites
, as well as a deli, were damaged beyond repair.
In a statement, the NYPD said that work was being done in the basement of 119 2nd Avenue to provide separated metered gas lines to surrounding buildings, which may have led to the explosion, although no further details are available at this time. In addition to dozens of injuries, at least two people have been reported missing, including Nicholas Figueroa, 23, who was dining at Sushi Park during the time of the explosion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
He was on a second date, and his date was treated for a broken nose after the incident.
Several victims were rushed to the hospital for burn-related injuries. As of Friday morning, at least 50 firefighters were still at the scene assessing the damage.
Pommes Frites was up for The Daily Meal’s upcoming story The Best French Fries in America, and last year, Pommes Frites reached number 13 on our list of Best French Fries in America.
In a statement on Twitter, the restaurant confirmed that they had to shut down operations.
“We would like to thank everyone who has shared their concern for our well-being,” the restaurant began in a Twitter statement. “Our staff and our customers are safe. However, our main concern is for those who were injured. This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to them. Due to the severe damage to the building we are closed for the foreseeable future. We hope to re-open someday soon and will keep you updated when we have more news to share.”
The Daily Meal has reached out to Pommes Frites for more information, and is awaiting a response. Locals were in shock, mourning the loss of not only several buildings, but the neighborhood icon that is Pommes Frites.
“The restaurant is an institution; it’s been here for quite some time,” said Brian Polay, a local resident. “My father used to go here growing up. It’s always the first place I bring people who have never been to the neighborhood. For it to have been damaged beyond repair is quite a big deal.”
This story will be updated as more information comes in.