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3 seriously burned in possible blast in New York's Chinatown

Story highlights

  • Fire chief: Evidence of explosion at beauty store in New York City's Chinatown
  • 12 people injured, including three seriously, fire department says
  • Officials: Fire burns part of first floor; part of ceiling collapses

Twelve people were injured, including three seriously, in a fire and partial ceiling collapse at a beauty store in New York City's Chinatown area Thursday afternoon, city fire department spokesman Jim Long said.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the fire, though there's evidence of an explosion at the Piao Liang Ren Sheng Beauty store, located on the ground floor of a five-story building at 17 Pike St. in Lower Manhattan, Fire Chief John Bley said.

New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN that a gas explosion was suspected.

Firefighters found a fire and a minor collapse of the first-floor ceiling after they were called to the business on a report of an explosion shortly before 12:45 p.m., the fire department said.

Three people suffered serious burns, Long said. The nine others -- including four firefighters -- suffered non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

Video from CNN affiliate WABC showed people on stretchers being taken to ambulances.

    The fire department said the structure was a mixed-occupancy building; Browne said the building contained apartments.