NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Both during and after the explosion that leveled two buildings in East Harlem Wednesday, people were stepping in to help rescue people inside, and take care of the victims afterward.Storm Watch: Timeline Of Rare October Nor'easter Soaking Tri-State Area
As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, Michael Lewis was up on his apartment building roof working just blocks from the explosion.
PHOTOS: Harlem Explosion
“I heard an explosion, turned around, I saw all the dust and the debris, and I ran to try to help people get out,” Lewis said.
Lewis shot video on his phone, and as he arrived on the scene, one of the buildings collapsed.
Jonathan Guzman is a security guard in the same building where Lewis works. He said the explosion blew open the front doors.
“(It was) locked,” Guzman said. “I don’t know how it flew open, but it flew open just like that — even though it was locked.”
Lewis and Guzman ran to the scene, recording what they could. They said everyone jumped in to help.
“They climbed the rubble, they was digging. There was a man with a red shirt, and another African-American man; they was digging. They got two people out by themselves,” Guzman said.
Emergency medical technicians Johnny Ross and Allen White were on the scene all day, helping from the moment they ran towards the explosion.
“They said we had a lady down. So we ran to her — me and another guy, we ran to her – I had head stabilization; we got a board and collar on her, because she said she couldn’t feel her legs” White said. “We sent her to the hospital, actually, then we started triaging a lot of patients.”
White and Ross have been saving lives for years, and they said the teamwork is incredible.
“It seems like the city’s response to events like this – you know, it seems way better over the years,” said Ross, of Midwood ambulance.
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Following the explosion and the heroic rescue efforts, the surviving victims were rushed from the scene – many of them shaken and in shock. More than 60 were taken to area hospitals, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.