New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says people are still missing after an explosion leveled two apartment buildings, killing two people and injuring 18 others.

    De Blasio says: ``There are a number of missing individuals.'' He suggests some may have fled to safety and says the city is expending every effort to locate the people who are still unaccounted for.

    The mayor urged worried relatives to call 311. A hotline was being set up.

    The mayor says Con Edison is shutting down all gas mains going into the building.

    He says a gas leak was reported to the utility 15 minutes before the explosion. The explosion occurred before the Con Edison team arrived.

A man who works in a nearby building says today's explosion that leveled two New York City apartment buildings felt like an earthquake.

    Waldemar Infante, who was working in the basement of the neighboring building when the explosion took place, says, ``There were glass shards everywhere on the ground and all the stores had their windows blown out.''

    The explosion left at least two people dead and injured 18 others. The mayor says others are reported missing. The blast happened after a neighbor reported smelling natural gas.

    The East Harlem neighborhood was at a standstill as police set up barricades to keep residents away from the ruins of the five-story buildings. Thick, acrid smoke filled the air, watering people's eyes. Some wore surgical masks while others held their hands or scarves over their faces.

    A resident of one of the destroyed buildings says he heard news of the blast and hurried back from his job. He says he found ``nothing left'' -- just ``a bunch of bricks and wood.'' (Associated Press)