Heartless selfies at NY blast site

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 23.08

Shameless ... Amid the backdrop of fire, seven smiling women used a selfie stick to snap a cheery photo of themselves. Picture: Twitter Source: Supplied

At least two people were missing Friday after an explosion Thursday afternoon destroyed three buildings in New York City's East Village. WSJ's Jennifer Weiss reports. Photo: Nancy Borowick/Press Pool

SELF-ABSORBED sightseers are treating the New York's East Village gas-explosion site like a tourist attraction, shooting grinning selfies of themselves even as rescuers search for life in the ruins where two bodies might still be buried.

Amid the backdrop of the devastation wrought by the explosion, fire and collapse of three buildings that injured 25 people, seven smiling women used a selfie stick late on Friday to snap a cheery photo of themselves, reported the The New York Post.

"Disgusting beyond words," wrote a commenter on the local-news blog EV Grieve, which reposted the snap.

A pile of debris ... all that remains at the site of a building explosion in the East Village neighbourhood of New York. The powerful blast and fire sent flames soaring and debris flying around the city. Picture: AP Photo/The New York Times, Nancy Borowick Source: AP

"Take a look at these people. Remember their faces," wrote Diane DiDonato, of Brooklyn, on Facebook. "They don't deserve those smiles. People are dying behind them."

Others called it "disaster porn."

"It's heartless," said Maurice Herz, 83, of the East Village.

"THIS IS A TRAGEDY NOT A TOURIST ATTRACTION," one frustrated neighbour wrote in a sign taped to a front door on nearby 7th Street. "SHOW SOME RESPECT," the sign demanded.

Other selfie-snappers included Christina Freundlich, whose LinkedIn profile lists her as a communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party. She posted a grinning photo of herself at the scene giving the peace sign.

The image has since been deleted from her Instagram account.

Regretful post ... Chrstina Freundlich posted an Instagram near the security perimeter with the peace sign and caption "Scene of the Accident". Picture: Instagram Source: Supplied

"Too soon," one follower chided.

Ms Freundlich couldn't be reached for comment Saturday.

East Villager Pablo Fernandez wore a green "Elf" shirt and red and white leggings as he posed for photos near a barricade before his bachelor party.

"I'm totally ridiculous, but I'm not normally like this," Mr Fernandez said.

His pals shot a video of him dancing near the site.

"This is so we could send the pictures to our friends in Spain and say, 'Look what we did,' " said a friend who declined to give his name.

Jeanie Slade's disaster-site selfie showed her and a pal flashing open-mouthed grins and the hashtags "#beingtourists and "#weresocreepy."

Asked about the selfie by The Post, Ms Slade called it "satire."

"My heart goes out to the people of New York, and this satire post was in poor taste," she insisted. "My intention was to point out how many people post selfies in inappropriate times and it backfired."

Meanwhile, the grim work continued at the site Saturday, as 60 firefighters extinguished the remaining flames amid the search for survivors.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio visited an East Village firehouse to thank firefighters. He met with hero firefighter Michael Shepherd, who was off-duty but joined the search for people trapped.

"Your dad is a real hero," the mayor said to his son, Michael Patrick, 10.

"He's my hero," Mr Shepherd told the mayor of his son.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio meets firefighters at the site of a building explosion. Picture: AP Photo/The New York Times, Nancy Borowick Source: AP

The FDNY said it would take a week to go through the ruins, with first responders working around-the-clock while dogs sniff the debris.

"It's going to be slow and arduous to dig out, search through the rubble," FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro said.

Two people — Nicholas Figueroa, 23, of Harlem, and Moises Locon, 27, of Elmhurst, Queens — were still missing Saturday. Mr Figueroa had been on a date with Theresa Galarza, 22, at the ground floor Sushi Park restaurant and was last seen going to get the check. The blast sent her flying across the street. Mr Locon had worked as a busboy at Sushi Park.

Missing ... Nicholas Figueroa is still missing. He was on the ground floor in a restaurant at the time of the explosion. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied

Red Cross workers comforted his distraught brother, Zacharias, at the scene on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Con Ed said that on August 6, a meter reader discovered that the gas line in the Sushi restaurant at 121 Second Ave. — that seven months later erupted in a fireball — had been improperly tampered with.

Spokesman Allan Drury said the resulting leaks caused the utility to determine the situation was "hazardous'' — so it cut off all gas to the building for some 10 days.

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