Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Hospitals Treated Dozens of Victims of East Harlem Explosion, Building Collapses

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The victims of Wednesday's explosion and building collapses were rushed to area hospitals, and while many have been released, two remain in critical condition. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

When word spread that an explosion in East Harlem caused a building to collapse, staff at Mount Sinai Hospital about a mile and a half from the scene braced for an influx of patients.

"Mount Sinai activated its emergency response plans," said Dr. Kevin Chason, director of emergency management for the Mount Sinai health system. "We had an incident command center that coordinated all the activities that were going on in our hospital, communicated with all the other agencies that were involved in the event."

The hospital received 26 patients, half of them walk-ins with a range of injuries.

"Most of the injuries were minor injuries, so it's cuts, scrapes, lacerations, some broken bones, some inhalation injury from the smoke and from the debris that was in the area," Chason said.

However, one patient who suffered head trauma was admitted to the intensive care unit.

"That patient was down in rubble at the building," Chason said.

Each of those injured have a frightening tale of how they got hurt.

"I thought it was an earthquake, but it was impossible it could be an earthquake, 'cause everything start falling down on me. The glasses, the TV, everything. It fell on top of my bed," said one resident injured in the explosion and collapse. "I found myself elevating in the air."

It was not just residents that were among the injured. Even those riding down the street had stories to tell.

"The bus just flew up. Like, it jumped up, glass broke. There was smoke all over the place. It was chaos," said one person who was injured. "Everybody was panicked. 'Stop the bus, stop the bus,' and other people were saying, 'No, keep on, keep on.'"

As the day turned to night, less than a handful of patients remained at Mount Sinai, and even those who did not have a home to return to were thankful to be alive.

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