Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NTSB Pinpoints Gas Leak Next to East Harlem Blast Site

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TWC News: NTSB Pinpoints Gas Leak Next to East Harlem Blast Site
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Investigators say they have found a leak in a gas main next to one of the buildings leveled in last week's explosion in East Harlem that killed eight people.

The National Transportation Safety Board discovered the leak when an eight-inch plastic and cast-iron gas main that runs underneath Park Avenue between 116th Street and 117th Street failed a pressure test.

NTSB investigators were able to run tests Tuesday after the New York City Fire Department cleared the last of the debris from the basement of the collapsed buildings.

The NTSB sent two gas service line segments from the basement of the destroyed buildings, one 20 feet long and the other three feet long, to its lab in Washington D.C. for further analysis.

Investigators plan to dig into the leak location, expose pipe segments, and mark, cut and tag them as evidence to be sent to the NTSB lab for further analysis.

Neighbors are monitoring the investigation knowing how close they were to the blast.

"It happened to be right on my bedroom wall. My air conditioner fell out of the window. I didn't know what happened. I was just stuck," said one resident. "And then I looked out the window and I was like, 'Oh my God, the building fell,' and then it was a big ball of fire."

Many are pleased with the measured progress federal and local experts are making at finding the cause of the explosion, but they're still concerned about the future.

"As a New Yorker, I want the city to be a little bit more diligent when it comes to checking those installations," said one person.

The NTSB said that it pressure tested gas pipes going to adjacent buildings and found no substantive issues. The city and Con Edison are working to restore gas to those structures.

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