Explosions can be devastating. These incidents can result in severe injuries and sometimes loss of life, as in the case of the recent explosion in Manhattan’s East Village. Often times, explosions are caused by some sort of negligence. In each case, the accident should be immediately investigated to determine the cause and origin of the explosion. Understanding the cause of this type of accident is an extremely necessary first step in determining liability, as in who should be held responsible to compensate the injured victims and-or their loved ones.
In New York’s East Village three buildings collapsed and four others were damaged by an explosion and the gas-fueled fire that followed. Two people died in the blast and more than twenty others were injured.
Sadly, this explosion was likely preventable. Leaking natural gas was thought to be the source of the explosion and fire, reported The New York Times (3.28.15).
More than seven months before the explosion and fire, Consolidated Edison utility workers discovered that the gas line to Sushi Park, a restaurant in the building at 121 Second Ave, had been illegally tapped, creating a dangerous situation.
On Aug. 6, a meter reader at the restaurant detected the smell of gas and reported it. A gas crew sent to the site found several leaks in a gas line that had been tapped. Con Edison shut down gas service to the building for about 10 days while repairs were made by the owner of the building. The utility restored the gas service after determining it was safe to do so, reported The New York Times.
About an hour before the explosion, inspectors from Con Ed visited the building that later exploded. They had locked the gas line to ensure it wouldn’t be used after determining that work to upgrade gas service didn’t pass inspection, reported U.S. News and World Report (3.29.15).
Fifteen minutes after the inspectors left, the sushi restaurant’s owner smelled gas and called the landlord, who called the general contractor. Nobody called 911 or Con Ed, said US News.
In The New York Times, a quote from the restaurant’s owner showed that it was not going to be easy to determine who was at fault for the explosion. He said some people blame him or the manager for not calling 911. “Who would call 911 when you know there is plumbing work going on?” Hyeonil Kim said. “Asking the landlord what was going on would be the best way to handle the situation.”
Injuries and financial costs in accidents involving explosions can be catastrophic. An experienced lawyer can help victims of the accident by helping to establish the liability of the responsible party or parties and also to maximize compensation for the victims and-or their families.