The death toll stands at eight, after an explosion in East Harlem Wednesday morning that leveled two buildings on Park Avenue.  Dozens more were injured.

"You've got basically two five story buildings that have been reduced to essentially a three story pile of bricks and twisted metal," said Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The explosion happened around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on Park Avenue.  Con Edison said it got a report of a gas odor about 15 minutes earlier. 

"As part of that call the individual said that he had smelled gas the night before," said Con Edison CEO John McAvoy.  "Now he didn't call the night before, but he included that in the conversation when he reported the call at 9:13."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said anyone who smells gas should report it immediately to Con Edison.

The NTSB said it's operating under the assumption that a natural gas leak led to the explosion.

"Because of the nature of the scene, we are not able to get in up close and personal to begin our examination of the pipe.  We're not able to do that until the FDNY determines that the area is safe," said Sumwalt.

Residents say the explosion could be felt several buildings away from the blast.  Windows were shattered in neighboring buildings.

Dozens of people remain out of their homes after the explosion.  They stayed overnight at a shelter.