Pockets of fire and heat smoldered inside the mounds of debris for many hours after the blasts, complicating search-and-rescue operations that continued under flood lights through the night, city Fire Department spokesman Michael Parrella said. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who rushed to the scene in East Harlem, where a cascade of twisted and burnt metal blocked the sidewalk and covered parked cars, said preliminary information showed the explosion was caused by a gas leak. Edward Foppiano, Con Ed's vice president for gas operations, said while the utility could not say for certain what caused the explosion, it was treating the incident as a gas leak. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the "gas explosion and subsequent fire." Metro-North Railroad, which had shut down train traffic moving through Manhattan while it cleared debris from the tracks, announced in late afternoon it had restored all commuter rail service through the area.
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Russia risks "massive" political and economic consequences if Moscow does not enter into "negotiations that achieve results" over the situation in Ukraine.