By Stan Friedman
NEW YORK, NY (March 12, 2014) – Jose Humphreys, pastor of Metro Hope Covenant Church, was walking his dog this morning when he heard and felt the explosion in East Harlem that brought down a pair of apartment buildings, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more just two blocks from him.
“I eventually made my way near the scene and saw a lot of debris and rubble on the southwest side of Park Avenue,” Humphreys said tonight. “First responders got there immediately to secure the scene.”
He walked the two blocks home to put on his clerical collar and returned to the scene, where he was given access to provide support at the Red Cross Command Center.
“People I listened to and prayed with were mostly dazed and confused,” Humphreys said. “Some were waiting for word about missing family members. Many were on their cell phones calling the local hospitals hoping they could located loved ones. Others were displaced from neighboring buildings since the area of the disaster site is off limits.”
Metro Hope’s intentional community, Hope House, has taken in one family, Humphreys said.
He and other clergy led a prayer vigil at a local congregation this evening. “It was a time of solidarity with those who were suffering sudden tragic loss.”
Humphreys put his son to bed tonight at 9:30 tonight, 12 hours after the blast. “I’m looking out my window from my apartment watching a plume of smoke continually emerging from the smoldering rubble,” he said. “Let our prayers go out to the survivors of 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue.”