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NEW YORK CITY—A four story Manhattan building collapsed early this morning during rush hour on East 62nd St. between Park Avenue as a result of what appeared to be an explosion, according to published reports. A resulting fire then spread throughout adjacent buildings.

The building housed a doctor’s and dental office and collapsed around 8:40. According to eyewitnesses, Con Edison workers were on the scene earlier in the morning reportedly investigating a gas leak prior to then explosion. The FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta reports at least 11 people injured including five civilians and six firemen. The only occupant of the building reported injured was a doctor, Nicholas Bartha, the building’s owner. Bartha was able to call authorities from his phone while buried in the wreckage.

A police official speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that a lawyer for the doctor’s wife contacted police recently and said that she had received an e-mail from him saying he was contemplating suicide. Bartha was being forced to sell the building, the official said. As a result of the situation, authorities believe that the explosion may be related to a suicide attempt involving gas.

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