2nd Body Found in Rubble as ‘Possible’ Suicide Eyed in Brooklyn Explosion: Sources

Authorities have recovered a second body from the rubble of an apparent gas explosion that killed one woman and injured more than a dozen others in Brooklyn as investigators probe suicide as a "possible" cause of the blast, sources said. 

The recovery of the unidentified body brings the death toll to two, according to the mayor's office. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy.

Thirteen others were injured in the explosion at 42nd Street and 13th Avenue in Borough Park Saturday, one severely, officials said. 

Authorities had been searching for 48-year-old Francisca Figueroa since the blast; she spoke with her sister on the phone just before the explosion, sources said, leading police to believe she was inside her apartment at the time. 

Police sources said Figueroa posted suicidal thoughts on social media and in text messages. A friend of Figueroa at the scene Monday disputed that she would kill herself, saying she was happy. 

Crews delicately sifted through the debris on Sunday as they searched for the woman; officials said at the time that it's likely both the building where the blast went off and an adjacent one will eventually have to be demolished. Several other buildings in the area also remain under an evacuation order.

A gas leak has been eyed as the cause of the blast, which blew off the front of the building. The exact cause is under investigation, but authorities say it may have followed the removal of a stove.

A woman, identified Sunday as Ligia Puello, 64, who lived on the third floor of the building, was pronounced dead after the explosion.

A 33-year-old man and his 10-year-old son and a 27-year-old man were injured by bricks and other debris blown onto the sidewalk as they walked past the front of the building. They are expected to survive their injuries but were taken to area hospitals.

Officials said 49 residents were displaced by the explosion and fire. The Red Cross is helping those individuals.

The collapse follows two other explosions in recent years in the city. One killed eight people in East Harlem last year. And two people died in an East Village explosion earlier this year.

The incident prompted Gov. Cuomo to direct the state Department of Public Service to investigate the cause of the explosion.

"This explosion is the latest in a disturbing trend of incidents that occurred in Harlem and the East Village," he said. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by today's explosion, especially the friends and family of those lost or injured."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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