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Blast Levels New York Piano Store

...a church and 15 apartments housed in two vintage tenements on Park Avenue near East 116th Street. The explosion set off a five-alarm fire and triggered seismic activity recorded on earthquake monitors at Columbia University across town, reports said.

At least eight people were killed and more than 60 injured in the disaster, though none from Absolute Piano. One employee, Colin Patterson, told the New York Daily News he was in the store’s back room when the explosion struck around 9:30 a.m. Amazingly, he was saved by the way the pianos toppled around him, shielding him as the building collapsed overhead. “I was in a miraculous cocoon,” he told the paper. Patterson was able to climb out a window and onto a fire escape, virtually unhurt.

Owned by Kaoru Muramatsu, Absolute Piano was honored last year by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a certified Minority Woman Owned Business Enterprise. Its website advertises new and used pianos by Kawai, Young Chang, Steinway, Yamaha, and others, along with tuning, moving, rental, and repair services.

In a Facebook post a day after the blast, Absolute Piano confirmed that all members of its staff were safe. In a second Facebook update three days later, the staff thanked friends and associates for their many acts of kindness. After hearing that Absolute Piano lost its piano repair tools and materials in the blast, technicians from Steinway and the Juilliard School, along with fellow retailer Beethoven Pianos, pitched in to help replace them, the post said. The store’s CPA also refused to charge for processing its tax return. “We [have received] kind messages and deep sympathy from our customers, friends, musicians and many others all over the world,” reads the second Facebook post. “We lost [our] store and inventory, but we feel we are very fortunate.”

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