Fifteen people were injured Thursday when a gas line was struck in a New York village, destroying a residential building in an apparent explosion, authorities said.
The incident occurred around 12:15 p.m. in the Village of Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County.
Wappingers Falls Fire Chief Jason Enson said at a media briefing that an excavator ruptured the gas line. He said that crews arrived at a working fire and that people were trapped in the rubble of the building after the explosion.
Eight adults and two children were injured in the initial incident, Wappingers Falls Police Commissioner Paul Italiano said.
The victims had critical injuries, he said, the extent of which was not clear.
Five first responders — a firefighter and four police officers — were also being treated at hospitals for minor injuries, including smoke inhalation, he said.
Two helicopters airlifted three of the injured people for medical treatment, and the other victims went by ambulance, Italiano said.
Eric Kiszkiel of Central Hudson Gas & Electric said at the news conference that crews had been doing routine maintenance in the area and were replacing a gas main.
The gas infrastructure in the area could date to the 1930s or ’40s, he said.
Electric service had been restored and natural gas was expected to be restored for nearly all affected customers by the end of the night, Central Hudson President and CEO Christopher M. Capone said in a statement Thursday evening.
Marcie Ward, a witness, said her house shook as a result of the blast, which was felt blocks away. “A little boy was being carried out, burnt really bad,” she told NBC New York.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement she had deployed emergency personnel with the state to assist in response efforts.
“I urge all New Yorkers to follow the direction of law enforcement and other first responders working to keep the community safe. I join all New Yorkers in praying for the Village of Wappingers Falls,” she said.
Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.