A new report released by the Public Service Commission places the blame for a deadly building collapse in Harlem last year squarely on the shoulders of Con Edison. The report says that the utility company was deficient in its duty to inspect and maintain the gas lines feeding buildings in the area and that a cracked joint led to a fiery explosion which leveled two residential buildings and killed several people last year.
The explosion on March 12 of 2014 was preceded by several calls by concerned residents to the utility. Reports show that several witnesses at the scene smelled a gaseous odor immediately prior to the blast both outside and inside the Park Avenue building. However, Con Ed did not notify the FDNY. That failure was in direct violation of state regulations.
In addition, an investigation into the maintenance history of the line showed that the individual who welded the joint in question back in 2011 was not properly certified and should not have been working on the line.
These two deficiencies alone are enough to demonstrate negligence on the part of the utility. However, Con Ed is still placing some of the blame for the building collapse in Harlem on a City of New York deteriorated sewer line caused soil erosion which added stress on the joint and caused the leak.
This new report carries significant weight and will likely play a part in any wrongful death lawsuits filed against the utility. It is likely that victims and their family members have sufficient cause to seek damages from both Con Ed and the City of New York.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a gas explosion caused by improper maintenance, shoddy work, or tampering on the part of any unauthorized individual, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your loss. Contact an expert New York City building collapse attorney immediately to safeguard your rights. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.