Emergency services rushed to the scene of a huge basement fire in New York after a potentially deadly gas leak that has left three dozen injured.
Police swooped on the 12-storey apartment block in West Broadway and Murray Street following suggestions a ‘suspicious package’ had been discovered – just three blocks away from Ground Zero.
Both the bomb squad and the FBI also rushed to the scene, which houses an Amish Market on the ground floor.
The emergency services were called after workers had suddenly fallen ill while sorting through packages of salad bowls in a kitchen inside the building’s basement.
Officers were initially concerned the packages could have caused the mysterious gas emissions, however officials investigated the salad bowls and visited its distributor but found nothing suspicious, the FDNY said.
It is now believed the carbon monoxide spewed from a defective boiler, first described as an “oil burner”, causing dozens of people to need emergency treatment by ambulance crews.
Video from the scene showed dozens of firefighters as well as several fire trucks and ambulances surrounding the area.
And social media has been ablaze after surrounding roads were blocked off by a polce cordon, putting the Tribeca area on lockdown.
One twitter user said: “Oh f*** lmao I’m right up the block, everything on west broadway is blocked off from chambers to murray.”
At least 35 people are being treated at local hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning – with at least one person believed to be critical.
FDNY Chief James Leonard said: “We found a defective boiler in the basement with some sort of broken pipe that was producing the CO.”
The city fire department says they are conducting CO readings in neighboring buildings and enquiries continue.
The 12-story building was evacuated and an adjacent structure was searched during the incident, fire officials said, and high levels of carbon monoxide were detected up to the building’s third floor during the investigation.