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Charlie Rangel Calls East Harlem Explosion 'Our Community's 9/11'

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AP Photo / Haraz N. Ghanbari

“This is a very serious thing. It’s our community’s 9/11, even though we don’t know how it started,” Rangel told New York's NBC affiliate, according to Politico. “The whole New York delegation has been concerned, and members that are not in committee are glued to the television and hearing reports from you makes us at least a little closer to home."

The Wednesday morning explosion at the two apartment buildings came after the smell of natural gas was reported in the area. As of this writing, two people were reported dead and 17 people were injured.

In a different interview on Wednesday, Rangel, currently serving his 22nd term in Congress, ruled out that the explosion was the result of terrorism.

“I talked to Con Ed, and they indicated that they received complaints of the smell and odor and soon after that, the buildings exploded,” Rangel told MSNBC, as quoted by the Washington Times. “So it seems to me you can get rid of any theory of terrorism being a target in that area that I know so well.”