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Sushi Park, Pommes Frites Destroyed in Massive East Village Building Explosion [UPDATE]

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Several blocks of 2nd Avenue are closed off as firefighters battle the blaze.

Scott Westerfield

A massive explosion in a building on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street has destroyed Sushi Park, the cheap Japanese restaurant always offering half-price sushi deals. It's still not certain what caused it, but the Daily News is now reporting that "Investigators suspect the 3:20 p.m. blast was caused by a gas leak at the Sushi Park restaurant on the ground floor." Emergency crews are on the scene at the partially collapsed building, and there are reports from Mayor De Blasio's office that 12 people were injured, three of them critically. The Times is reporting that this is now a seven alarm fire, with around 250 firefighters currently on the scene.

The building was right next to the one that houses Pommes Frites appears to have come out relatively unharmed. B&H Dairy is also nearby, and potentially endangered as well. But with the fire currently raging, it may be some time before we know for sure. So far (and unsurprisingly) none of the business in the block are answering the phone. Most likely the entire block has been evacuated.

UPDATE: It appears that now the building that housed Pommes Frites is gone as well. From photos on scene, it seems to have been quickly engulfed in flames:

UPDATE 2: The Guardian is now reporting that workers from Sushi Park were seen climbing the fire escapes immediately after the explosion, pulling people out of the windows.

UPDATE 3/27: The next morning, one man on a date at Sushi Park is reported missing, and Pommes Frites has posted a message to its customers, while B&H says it's ok.

Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, here's a look at the scene as it unraveled: