http://media.newyork.cbslocal.com/CBSNY_20150327133102380AA.mp4 NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Two people remain unaccounted for and six others may also be missing after an apparent gas explosion in the East Village that leveled three five-story buildings. Flames and smoke were sent shooting into the sky after an initial explosion from the basement of 121 Second Avenue around 3:15 p.m. Thursday. The fire jumped to adjacent buildings, causing three to collapse. A fourth suffered extensive fire damage. PHOTOS : Second Avenue Building Explosion Authorities said they are searching for 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, who was on a date at the Sushi Park restaurant right before the building fell, and a restaurant worker, Moises Locon. Family Searching For Man Missing After East Village Blast Kevin Rincon reports play pause Nicholas Figueroa’s family said he and his date were paying for their meal at the time of the blast. “Nobody knows what’s happening,” his brother Brandon Figueroa told CBS2’s Ilana Gold. “It has me shaking. It’s very nerve-racking just to think about it.” His date’s family says she was being treated for her injuries at Bellevue Hospital. Upper East Side Man Unaccounted For In East Village Explosion John Montone reports play pause Nicholas Figueroa’s cousin, Anthony Figueroa, said the family is praying for his safe return. “I just hope he’s OK and I’m praying for the best,” he told 1010 WINS’ Kevin Rincon. “I know he’s strong and I know he’ll overcome anything.” Investigators did a thorough search of the building, but sources told CBS2 they found no signs of him. His siblings keep calling his cell phone, but it goes straight to voice mail. Family Desperate To Find Missing Man Following East Village Blast Peter Haskell reports play pause “My brother is a strong guy,” his brother Neal Figueroa told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “I just want my brother to be safe, I want him to smile again. I want him to be home.” “I’m just really worried he’s going to remain missing and no one is going to truly find where he is,” Brandon Figueroa said. “I want to have that confidence, but there are so many factors that go against it.” Police said they were also trying to determine if six others who were reported missing were connected to the blast. The six were not thought to have been in the buildings that collapsed, police said. It’s still early in the investigation, but city officials believe it was a gas-related explosion. Con Edison inspectors were at 121 Second Avenue before the blast looking at the installation of a new gas meter and pipes, work the utility said was being done by a private contractor. But Con Ed said it failed the inspection partly because the space for a new meter wasn’t big enough.
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2 Unaccounted For After East Village Explosion, Fire