New York – Records illustrate that a building fire and explosion in the East Village area of New York City may have been due to illegal work on the gas line that left a dangerous gas leak. The building was flagged as having a possible natural gas leak in August 2014 after a meter reading worker smelled gas. The gas company report that they sent a team of employees to the scene and found several gas leaks and an overall dangerous situation after seeing that the original gas line had been illegally tapped into several times. The illegal work was possibly done by the owner of the building or with his knowledge. There was a restaurant in the building that was authorized to have a natural gas hook up to the company. However, the other residents apparently were illegally and dangerously connected to the same gas line according to accounts. The gas company then turned off service but allowed the owner of the building to correct the negligent maintenance work. The service to the building was restored after the gas company re-inspected the situation and found it to be safe. Now, public safety activists are questioning if the repair work was done properly and according to safety code. Some suspect that the illegal work may have been repeated but further inspection is necessary to determine fault. Nearby construction work was underway and Consolidated Edison inspectors were at the scene only approximately one hour earlier, reportedly having determined that the construction and renovation work failed their safety standards. It is unclear if that work was in any way related to the gas fire.
The fire has been blamed on a natural gas explosion according to New York City Fire Department (FDNY) officials. The original explosion demolished 3 buildings in total, including at least one restaurant and multiple apartments. Yesterday, the remains of two of the deadly accident victims were found at the scene. At least twenty-two people were injured in the blast, with many of them suffering burns, broken bones, lacerations as well as internal injuries. See this article for more details about the building accident.
Illustrative photo credit: cisc1970 [License]