Monday, December 2, 2013

Still searching for answers

Pair Saved After Westchester Square Explosion
(Photos by David Greene)

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 2- A half dozen civilians helped remove debris and assisted firefighters in locating two men who were buried in rubble after an explosion brought a small building down on top of them.

Rescue crews were called to B & L Auto Repair at 2601 Westchester Avenue at just before 8 a.m., on November 27, after the adjacent one-story structure used as an office, exploded and collapsed trapping the pair in debris.

Bill Sanfardino, who works at nearby electrical shop, recalled, "They’re good people... fortunately they got out alive, I mean it was a crazy scene. The building just exploded, I don't know how or why."

"We were sitting in the shop," Sanfardino continued, "and we heard a boom." Sanfardino stated they located the victims within the five minutes it took for rescue crews to arrive.

Doroteo Sanchez, a day-laborer was standing across the street at the time of the explosion, recalled, "I heard a loud boom. I thought it was a truck that hit one of the columns for the train station. I turned around and the building was down and smoke was rising up into the air."

Sanchez, 51, continued, "We all ran over there to see what was going on and somebody said that someone was in there, so we started looking around and moving beams and wood and brick out of the way.

"It looked like a war zone," Sanchez concluded, "I thought a bomb hit it or something."

The unidentified 63-year-old father and his 36-year-old son were rushed to Jacobi Hospital and were both expected to recover.

B & L Auto has been in business for the last 30-years.

One source close to the investigation stated that the victims were using an air compressor as they welded a gas line when the explosion took place.

Chief William Seelig of the FDNY's Special Operations Division, stated, "It was some pretty manually intensive work we needed to do to get the victims out."

Seelig added that the exact cause of the explosion remains under investigation.   

Tags: Building Collapse, Westchester Avenue

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