New York Building Blaze
An explosion at the commercial property caused the five-storey building to collapse and the neighbouring building to erupt into flamesReuters

Social media users were up in arms criticising people who posted selfies taken at the site of the NYC gas explosion in the city's East Village.

A number of New York newspapers also took aim at the selfie takers, with the New York Post going as far as calling a group of women using a selfie stick "village idiots".

The women, who were among several people to take photos at the site of the gas explosion that happened on 26 March, were taken to task for their actions. According to The Post, one neighbour posted a sign reading "THIS IS A TRAGEDY NOT A TOURIST ATTRACTION SHOW SOME RESPECT."

Another photo, taken by Instagram user Jeanie Slade and captioned "East Village gas explosion and 2 building collapse! #beingtourists #eastvillage #nyc #thecitythatneversleeps #weresocreepy #taylurking" also received some backlash. One commentator wrote: "Thats not being a tourist- thats being an a*****e - leave my neighborhood, permanently."

Slade later apologised for her selfie, telling The Post it was originally intended to be "satire".

She added: "My heart goes out to the people of New York, and this satire post was in poor taste. My intention was to point out how many people post selfies in inappropriate times and it backfired."

It appears that Slade has since deleted her Instagram account.

Gothamist also reported another disaster selfie was taken by a woman who was smiling and flashing a peace sign. The woman, who posted under the user name "christinafreundlich", captioned her photo "scene of the accident". The photo was later deleted and the account set to private.

New York City's East Village was rocked by gas explosion, which injured 22 people and left two dead.

Reuters said Fire Department commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters the two bodies recovered in the rubble on 29 March were believed to be of the two unaccounted men. The two missing men had earlier been identified as 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa and Moises Lucon, 26.

"Those were the two people that had been reported missing and we think we found those two," Nigro told reporters. The commissioner said he did not rule out the possibility of a third fatality. "The feeling is that everyone who had been reported missing has now been found."

According to Reuters, three buildings collapsed out of four that caught fire during the explosion and 11 buildings were evacuated. Rescue teams continued to search the area, with a complete clean up expected to take several days.