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Twelve people were hurt when two New York buildings collapsed and a blaze tore through neighboring properties Thursday in what preliminary indications suggested was a gas-related explosion. Four were in a critical condition after the blast flung the front of commercial and residential property at 121 Second Avenue across the street in the popular East Village, the fire department said, triggering the collapse of the next-door building and a huge blaze. The cause of the incident was under investigation but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the initial impact appeared to have been caused by plumbing and gas work at the site. The incident quickly heightened safety fears, a year after eight people were killed when a gas explosion leveled two apartment buildings in East Harlem in northern Manhattan on March 12, 2014.