The explosion left more than 40 people injured, ten of them in critical condition. Anthony Carducci an engineer who worked across the street says: "There was smoke all over, glass from the first, second and third floors blown out. All I could think of was September 11th. And could this be another terrorist attack?"
Officials on the scene denied any connection to terrorism. Instead, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that the explosion was of a chemical nature and may have been caused by volatile chemicals stored in the basement and used by a sign-etching company. "At the moment I want to assure there is absolutely no reason to think this is anything other than a tragic accident, and we hope there is no loss of life," the mayor said.
By one o'clock there was no longer any smoke or flames visible from the outside although numerous police cars, fire trucks and ambulances remained on the scene. The mayor added that the building appears to be structurally sound. Among the many tenants it housed were a film production company, launch.com, and former offices of Talk magazine.