(CNN) — Some thought it was a bomb. Others thought it was the commuter train that runs behind their buildings jumping the tracks.
It shook upper Manhattan for blocks — and when it was over, a five-story apartment building and its neighbor were gone.
After Wednesday morning’s deadly building explosion in East Harlem, squads of firefighters dug through piles of shattered bricks and beams. Ladder trucks sprayed water into the gap where the buildings once stood. As Detective Martin Speechly, a New York police spokesman, put it: “1644 Park Avenue appears not to be there anymore.”
Along with that five-story apartment building, with a Latino evangelical church on the first floor, a neighboring piano store and the four floors above it collapsed in the blast.