UPDATE: Firefighters reach basement of NYC blast site

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Investigators are hoping to learn the cause of the deadly explosion that leveled two New York City apartment buildings now that most of the rubble has been cleared away.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano says investigators should be able to access the gas pipes and meters in the front of the buildings' basements Sunday.

Fire marshals have been waiting to enter the basements to inspect any possible ignition sources that might have caused the blast.

An uplifting moment from the recovery effort came Saturday as crews pulled a large water-damaged Bible from the rubble of the Spanish Christian Church in one of the destroyed buildings.

The bodies of all eight people reported missing have been recovered, but the rescue operation is continuing in case others may be buried beneath the rubble.

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Firefighters are continuing efforts to clear the debris at the site of a deadly New York City explosion so that investigators can access the basements of the two flattened buildings to search for clues that might reveal what caused the blast.

Workers were expected Saturday to clear all the debris from the site where the buildings exploded, killing eight people. They've been working nonstop since the Wednesday morning explosion.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano says fire marshals and police detectives will check the meters, pipes and possible ignition sources such as light switches.

He says all eight bodies of people reported missing have been recovered.

Federal investigators have discovered natural gas underground near the site of the explosion, lending support to the theory the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

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