Recently, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced five indictments in connection with the Manhattan gas explosion and fire that killed two people. The building’s owners, plumbers and a general contractor were charged with Falsifying Documents, Assault in the Second Degree and Criminally Negligent Homicide.
Prosecutors allege that those indicted recklessly engineered an illegal gas delivery system in the building’s apartments. Authorities said that the unlicensed plumber, who rented his mater plumber’s license from his former partner, installed an unsafe gas hookup, and then engineered a complex, workaround from an uncapped gas meter next door after utility inspectors turned off the gas.
According to District Attorney Vance, an hour before the blast Con Ed workers did an inspection of the building. The landlord’s son and building superintendent used a valve to shut off the gas supply from the building next door and opened valves to maintain pressure in the system. Vance said that the landlord’s son also told a tenant in the building to tell Con Ed workers that gas had never been supplied to the apartments.
After Con Ed tested the system, the two men turned on the gas supply without checking to see if the opened valves had been closed. The gas flowed freely into the ground-level sushi restaurant located below the apartments. An employee at the restaurant called the landlord’s son about the smell. He allegedly went back into the basement with the superintendent, and the two men sprinted out of the building without telling anyone in the restaurant or apartments above to leave or call 911.
A few minutes later the blast went off. The explosion destroyed buildings, killed two people in one of the destroyed buildings, and left dozens homeless and injured.
If you have been injured due to a landlord’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who handles such matters. Arze & Mollica, LLP provides legal representation to individuals who have suffered building, premises or construction injuries throughout New York City. With offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, and Manhattan, the firm also represents clients in Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Call (718) 996-5600 for a consultation today.