As far as I know, the exact cause of the blast is still unknown, but the latest news I've seen indicates that the latest theories involve the storage of volatile chemicals, including acetone, in the basement of a sign-making company. It's probably going to be a while before the exact events that led to this accident get completely figured out. At least 42 people were injured, 12 critically (and 6 of those 12 are said to have life-threatening injuries).
What's interesting, though, is how the city's four daily newspapers (I'm not counting the Wall Street Journal) covered the story. The Post ran it as the only story on their front page, and followed it up with three stories inside the paper. The Daily News, like the Post, ran it on the front page with a great photo, and had four stories on the blast on the inside. The New York Times ran a large photograph of the damage from the blast on the front page, right below the masthead, and ran three stories on it in the Metro section, including a huge photo above the fold on the front page on the Metro section.
And the New York Sun, the paper that promised "New York on the front page", the "broadsheet that will make coverage of New York a priority"?
The Sun covers the story with a lousy photograph of one of the injured on the front page, with the caption below the fold. The caption itself is exceedingly vague, leading off with the title "Chelsea Explosion" and offering virtually no supporting details, save for the factoid "The explosion ripped through the building next door to the offices of th old Talk magazine." Turning to the main story we find... we find... we find that there is no main story.
That's right: the day that a building blows up in the middle of Manhattan, the New York Sun, the paper that "will offer its readers . . . a priority focus on the city it serves" covers the story with one picture and a 51-word caption that doesn't even specify where the explosion occurred (for the record, it happened on the north side of 19th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues).
In the meantime, however, the Sun thought that stories on Columbia University possibly bringing back ROTC, a plan for trying to catch millionaire tax cheats, and how a pair of terrorists who kidnapped and murdered an American citizen are probably holed up in the Church of the Nativity were all worthy of space above the fold on the front page. Below the fold on the front page are a story on a new Spanish-language "I Love New York" television ad, two blurbs about the dog rescue in Hawaii and this summer's Shakespeare in the Park production, and a piece about how it's OK to love the New Jersey Nets now that they're winners.
I think that smarternysun.com summed it up best with their headline: Explosion? What Explosion?