Gas Tank Explosion at John Street High-Rise Sparks Fire

By Serena Solomon and Wil Cruz  on June 1, 2012 11:07am  | Updated on June 1, 2012 12:07pm

Firefighters rushed to 116 John Street to battle a blaze on the 17th floor Friday morning.
Firefighters rushed to 116 John Street to battle a blaze on the 17th floor Friday morning.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

DOWNTOWN — A gas tank in a commercial high-rise building on John Street exploded Friday morning, sparking a blaze that left five firefighters injured, officials said.

The acetylene tank on 17th floor at 116 John Street was knocked over just after 10 a.m., causing a blast that ignited the blaze, an FDNY spokesman said.

"We smelled smoke and a couple of guys ran up to the roof and told us to evacuate," said Richard Rodriguez, 45, an electrician who was working on the roof of the 35-story high-rise. "We smelled, inhaled it. It was really thick."

Five firefighters were injured and transported to New York Hospital. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening, the FDNY said.

The blaze was under control about an hour later.

The 35-story high-rise building is being converted from offices to about 300 apartments.

The Peck Slip Post Office is scheduled to move into the ground floor of the building Monday morning. It was not immediately clear if the fire would affect the move.

The fire started just after 10 a.m. in an office on the 17th floor at 116 John Street, an FDNY spokesman said.
The fire started just after 10 a.m. in an office on the 17th floor at 116 John Street, an FDNY spokesman said.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

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