Friday, December 19, 2014

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The Call Blog: Explosion From Gas Leak Kills Two, Destroys Buildings In East Harlem

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What a tragic story many New Yorkers woke up to today... but also what a great example, once again, of the character of this City's residents. So many sprang into action and helped victims in the immediate aftermath. The questions will linger, the investigation will continue, but that courage and empathy of our fellow New Yorkers and our first responders should be what stays with people.

Emergency crews from several agencies are digging through the rubble of two flattened apartment buildings in East Harlem. Con Edison officials received a concerned call about the smell of gas 15 minutes before the explosion this morning. As of this writing, two people are dead, dozens are injured, and many residents are still unaccounted for.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the leak came from a Con Edison pipeline or customer-installed plumbing inside a building. But some lawmakers are already calling for more funding for infrastructure improvements. The explosion comes one day after the Center for an Urban Future released a report noting the dire need for improvements to our city's gas lines, water pipes, roads, and rails.

What's your reaction to this morning's explosion in East Harlem? If you live or work in the neighborhood, what did you see or hear? Are you concerned about the aging infrastructure in New York City? Do you want to see more of your tax dollars used to improve gas lines, water pipes, roadways, and bridges?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

The quick response by the FDNY,NYPD and other emergency service personnel to the tragic explosion and building collapse in Harlem again shows how well trained all of these various city personnel are. They put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the people of this city,and they are once again to be commended for their very rapid response to this unfortunate tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the dead and injured. We hope that those injured will make healthy ,speedy recoveries.God Bless our first responders-they are the best!

Fresh Meadows

I was shocked when i first heard it on the news i said OMG then i saw the pictures on the news i thoiught aboiut the families in the buildings then i thought about my two best friends Carmen and Evonne i knoiw they don't live in the area but i care about them aloit. If Con Ed did hit a gasline they should be responsible for the deaths of the two women that died that's only right or if someone was doing illegal work inside the buildings they should be charged because the DOB comissoner said there were no work orders given. More money should be given for the infrastructure espically in older buildings so many gas explosions are happening people are getting injured or killed. God bless the families that lost everything RIP to the women that died

Upper West Side

This was just an awful disaster that happened this morning. I am turned off by this
administration completely. How can 311 be the only number to use in an emergency.
Where were these people all morning long.
One reporter said that this building had fines against the landlord and they paid them.
There were quite a few.
I’m just responding because you do such a wonderful job John. Both you and your

We pay taxes and they all choose to use the money for other things such as pleasing
their constituents for votes.
I have said all along that during the campaign that no one was even speaking about
security. Security coincides with a disaster for sure.
There respond with to little to late in everything they do.
Why such a menagerie of people.
Why is it that one of the agencies there was the NTSB. Someone from that agency
claimed that they had a meeting just today or yesterday about old gas lines.
Give me a break.
This is all way over this administrations head.

Morris Park

Here's a perfect example of what has gone wrong with NYC. For the past 12 years under Bloomberg we have seen homelessness dramatically rise and rents unbelievably rise so that NYC became only affordable and livable for the wealthy. Meanwhile our infrastructure has continued to crumble and cause increasing tragedies. I am very concerned about aging infrastructure and am hopeful now we have a mayor who seems to care more about people than dollars that more will be done to fix it!

Upper East Side

Buildings collapse often in Harlem due to construction/renovation weakening the structure.


Call it coincidence, but yesterday on NY1's "Inside City Hall," representatives from the Center for an Urban Future was on the show discussing the possible deleterious and dangerous side effects of our city's aging infrastructure. The Center just issued a 68-page report entitled: "Caution Ahead: Overdue Investments for NY's Aging Infrastructure" available on their webstie. It is clear that from our aging water mains, gas pipelines, deteriorating roads, etc., that if left unchecked will certainly wreak havoc on the city's safety, economy and quality of life. We need to invest in our future NOW, the longer we wait the higher the cost on all fronts.

So saddened by the unnecessary and tragic loss of life, loss of homes and injuries in East Harlem.

Upper West Side

Before using this incident to discuss the state of our infrastructure and get excited over the possibility of a building that one might occupy exploding without warning, the need to contact your gas provider when you smell gas needs to be emphasized. This is the real story here. If you smell something, take the responsibility to do something about it and follow up if necessary.

Brooklyn Heights

No "broken window", how about no broken buildings... Why are people living in buildings with so many violations?


Pleased to hear the feds will investigate con ed

I believe Con ed operates like a 3rd world power company that is infested with corruption throughout the organization.

Its time this company that has a monopoly over our city and hinders economic development is investigated.

so sad so our fellow New Yorkers lost their lives and were severely hurt which triggered this investigation. Very sad indeed


Every time something happens people want to blame or look to blame. Sometimes things just happen as in old gas lines in an old city.

We are going to see more of these kinds of accidents. There needs to be a task force to figure out what's the oldest pipes in the city (water & gas) & replace those pipes before they become defective.


I'm unconvinced the city takes infrastructure warning signs seriously enough. I live on Prospect Place in Brooklyn and our entire neighborhood has reported smelling gas for months. The source is under a city street so nobody takes responsibility. National Grid has abandoned their work, seems ambivalent, and we're incredibly concerned.

Park Slope

Did you notice that the Con Ed guy who was interviewed didn't make any sense? He stated that the last time the monitoring truck went past that block was on February 28 so therefore whatever happened must have occurred within the last day. February 28 wasn't yesterday--that was 12 days ago. Makes me very suspicious they are covering something up!

Harlem (lives 4 blocks away)

My first thought was to blame
the almighty M. Bloomberg for this one!!!! This is all as a result of his eight years of plotting to change the true fabric and make-up of New York. He and the crooks at the Dept. of Buildings, authorizing illegal building permits; and stacking up buildings with cheap constructed material and parts overnight as though this is a Lego game. With the increase of massive excavation (s) going on around the area-the vibration could have created this devastation. We haven’t seen anything yet folks. The city is going to cave in. The surface cant stand but so much pressure.

Tami the Broker

I think the politicians of NYC better start raising money for our subways, sewer systems, roads, tunnels and bridges. Years of placing a bandaid on these aged structures is just ludicrous. The people of NY suffer. I pray for those who suffered today.

Staten Island

The city needs to look at the present infrastructure before building anymore building.

From Alfred E. Smith houses

It is my understanding that the explosion was from old copper piping and the weather.
However, what I find to be troubling is the phone calls to "Where" informing them of a gas smell.
Did 311 get the call and should they have directed that to the FDNY?

And the non professional city inspectors (RA or PE) stating that the surrounding buildings and above ground train station is ok with a huge sink hole in front.
Who is willing to put their license on the line and say it is ok, with no soil or earth testing?


It is an unfortunate situation with the lost of life but let's wait for the conclusion of the investigation

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