New York - A residential building in New York's East Harlem neighborhood exploded and collapsed on Wednesday, sparking a serious fires and engulfing the area in thick smoke, officials said.

Local TV stations reported that several people had sustained minor injuries in the incident at 116th Street and Park Avenue. TV footage showed debris strewn across the street.

“It was an explosion and a building collapsed,” a spokesman for New York Police Department told AFP, giving no further details. Firefighters have been dispatched to the scene.

“The call came at 9:34 am (1334 GMT). It is a residential building. The New York Fire Department is in the process of extinguishing the fire,” another police spokesman added.

Sapa-AFP