rusty pipe and valve

Last Thursday, the East Village was rocked by what was reportedly a gas leak explosion. The blast, and the ensuing fire, led to the ruination of three city buildings, and more deeply saddening still, the deaths of at least two people. Twenty more were injured. In the wake of such a tragedy, it is human nature to try and look for answers. What may be most troubling of all though, is when this impulse to seek elucidation leads to horrifying possibilities. In this case, the alleged negligence and malfeasance of property-owners, which may have directly contributed to the deadly explosion,  came as the horrific surprise. In the paragraphs below, we at Kaplan Lawyers PC would like to talk about both city government and individual landowner’s obligation to maintain safe environments for citizens, and the sometimes devastating results of trying to skirt the rules.

Investigations into the East Village gas leak explosion are ongoing, but many early stories are breaking that are shedding light on the chain of actions that led up to the incident. The base theory, as it stands, is that someone may have been illegally tapping a gas line and that the tampering caused a malfunction in the gas line itself or in a valve. This defect caused the leak. Natural gas leaks are hugely dangerous for the general public because in the presence of large quantities of airborne natural gas, introduction of a flame, or something as insignificant seeming as a small spark, may catalyze an enormous explosion. As evidenced by Thursday’s events. Exposure to natural gas may also be harmful to human lungs, even if the gas does not ignite. Inhalation of natural gas will deprive a person of oxygen, causing dizziness, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms.

The manner in which the rubble is removed as excavators near the cellar-level of the site is instrumental in determining the inciting events. However, some are saying that evidence of a gas leak may have been discovered as early as August. One of the businesses that had been operating in one of the now-leveled buildings was a restaurant called Sushi Park. The owners of Sushi Park said that, in August, they had smelled a strange odor which they believed to be gas and dutifully called 911. The requisite agencies, Con Edison and local firefighters, arrived and determined that gas was being siphoned from the sushi establishment into nearby apartments. This is referred to as “gas-tapping.” It seems the newly renovated apartments were flouting city rules in an attempt to cut costs. This led to a 10-day cessation of service, mandated by Con Edison, during which time repairs were to be made. Natural gas service was resumed when the piping infrastructure was once again deemed safe. During this provisional period of time, none of the tenants in the aforementioned apartment buildings recalled going without their gas appliances. Which has led some to speculate that those in charge of the apartments found other ways to circumvent the set-in-place ordinances.

On the day of the blast, natural gas was once again detected. However, when the two men smelled something amiss this time, they called their landlord, who contacted the general contractor, in lieu of dialing 911. This mistake proved fatal.

It is exactly this type of behavior that endangers innocent people: employees, patrons, residents, and passers-by alike. And this lack of adherence to the rules places the transgressor squarely at fault. While it won’t be easy determining who exactly is to blame, it is important to realize the sometimes fatal danger of ignoring the rules for personal gain. Regulations of this kind are made for specific reasons. The financial gain of an individual should never be prioritized over the general safety of citizens.

At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we can help try and determine fault in situations such as these. If an accident has occurred and injured you or someone you love, it doesn’t matter the scale of the predicament. Whether it be a catastrophe of large proportions, like this gas leak explosion, or a smaller incident, Kaplan Lawyers PC will analyze the causal circumstances, gather all pertinent facts and testimonies, and begin construction on a solid legal strategy for you. We can help you win compensation that will cover the costs of your medical bills and allow you to provide for yourself and your family in your time of need. Our team of attorneys are compassionate, professional, and knowledgeable. They are well-versed in all areas of premises accident and personal injury law. Our consultations are 100% free, and are a great way to get started. So don’t hesitate- contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today.