Buffalo State reacts to death of recent graduate

The body of 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa was found in the rubble of a NYC explosion

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After three long days of waiting, the family of Nicholas Figueroa got answers Sunday. The 23-year-old’s body was among the two pulled from the rubble of an explosion in New York City’s East Village Sunday.

The recent Buffalo State graduate was reported missing Thursday, after that explosion took place. It’s believed to have been caused by a natural gas leak.

“Nobody knows what’s happening,” his brother Brandon Figueroa said Friday.

According to his family, Figueroa was on a date at a sushi restaurant inside the building when it exploded.

“It has me shaken and it’s very nerve-racking just to think about it,” his brother expressed.

Sunday, New York City police reported that two bodies had been recovered. The Figueroa confirmed to News 4 that evening that one of them, was Nicholas.

The 23-year-old graduated from Buffalo State in December with a degree in Criminal Justice.

Moments after learning of his death, social media was flooded with condolences.

Brandy Stamp tweeted: “Nicholas, I can’t believe this happened to you. You’ll be greatly missed. RIP, watch over your family.”

@dblea88 wrote: “RIP to Nicholas Figueroa. I’ll pray for the strength of your family. God Bless. Dios los bendiga.”

And the president of Buffalo State, Kate Conway-Turner tweeted: “The thoughts and the hearts of the Buffalo State Community are with the Figueroa family during this difficult time.”

Buffalo State response via Twitter

But as many mourn Figueroa’s loss, New York City officials are still working to determined what caused this tragedy.

“If you’re smelling gas you call 911. That’s what you should do, that’s what we have to do.That’s what they didn’t do here,” said one official.

According to the New York City Fire Department, the owner of the restaurant Figueroa was eating in called the building owner when they smelled the gas, instead of 911.

“They should have called 911. We don’t know what the outcome would have been,” he said.

Officials are continuing to investigate the explosion. They don’t anticipate finding any other victims.

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