Explosion at Nyack College in New York injures 1 student, 7 employees

NYACK, N.Y. - An explosion in a college building Tuesday blew out windows, sent a door sailing through the air and injured seven people, but authorities said none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The explosion at Nyack College happened around 11:45 a.m., said undersheriff Robert Van Cura of the Rockland County Sheriff's Department. A female student and six employees were taken to the hospital, but the school sent out a tweet saying that "Everyone is doing ok."

Authorities said there was a gas leak at the building, but it was unclear if it caused the explosion or if the explosion caused the leak. The building, known as the Sky Island Lodge, is both an administrative and classroom building for the Christian college, which is about 25 miles north of New York City.

The force of the explosion blew a door off its hinges. It could be seen lying about 25 feet from the back of the building.

The school's graduation ceremonies had already been held, and summer classes hadn't started, said David Jennings, executive vice president.

"Thankfully, we were out of session," he said. He said the student had been there to take a test.

South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian said, "Had it been last month, that would have been a real problem."

She said that soon after the explosion, "the gas smell was horrendous."

She said the gas had been shut off, and an investigation was under way. Employees with Orange & Rockland Utilities were checking manholes and sewers for any gas leaks.

The college is near Nyack Middle School, where students were being kept inside as a precaution, Christian said.

"It sounded like a boom," said Gail Fleur, communications director for Nyack Public Schools, who heard the explosion from the administration building about a block away. "It sounded like we were having some roof work done. We thought somebody dropped something on the roof."

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said there was nothing suspicious about the explosion.

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