First responders recovered two bodies from the wreckage of Thursday’s explosion in the East Village on Sunday, the city said.
The mayor’s office and NYPD said they haven’t positively identified the remains and the notification was ongoing. Two people were reported missing following the fire, which destroyed three buildings on Second Avenue.
Moises Lucon was working at a sushi restaurant that was on the ground floor of one of those buildings, while Nicholas Figueroa was on a date in the restaurant during the time of the blast.
Figueroa’s family gathered at the corner of St Marks Place and Second Avenue Sunday morning. They prayed for the 23-year-old and threw white roses into the blocked off intersection.
"Nicholas I'm here for you. Nicholas come home," his brother Neal Figueroa shouted from the barricade. "Hear my voice. Don't give up on us, we haven't given up on you."
A dozen supporters joined the family chanting "don't give up."
"Listen to my voice, come home," Neal Figueroa shouted.
He cheered on the first responders working a block away, begging them to keep working.
Brandon Figueroa, another one of Nicholas’s brothers, described him as a “a great person, energetic and fun.”
"He was just a happy person," he said.
Investigators are looking into whether an illegal gas line was behind the incident.
Sunday’s discovery capped off a long weekend for first responders who worked around the clock to fight the remaining pockets of the fire and to search for survivors and clues in the rubble. Fire suppression ended Saturday evening and the teams used dogs to search for the missing men.
About 750 cubic yards of debris, a third of the total wreckage at the site, was searched and removed Sunday morning. The city said 60 apartments located near the site at 2nd Avenue and 7th Street are still under a vacate order, compared to 141 that were evacuated on Saturday.
More than 60 households have registered for services through the Red Cross and the city’s emergency management office.