Memorial Service Marks the Second Anniversary of East Harlem Explosion that Killed Eight
The feeling of loss is still fresh for those who were affected by the East Harlem gas explosion two years ago. A memorial was held where the blast happened, as NY1's Gene Apodaca reports.
With signs in their hands and grief in their eyes, George Amadeo's family visited the site where he died two years ago.
Samuel Colon, Amadeo's brother-in-law, remembers getting the news at work and rushing to the scene.
"We were hoping he was around and I look at him and it's Georgie everyone I looked at I thought was my brother in law and after a while it fades he's not here he's not here, he's not here," Colon said.
Amadeo was one of eight people who died, many others injured, when a massive explosion leveled two buildings here in East Harlem.
Family members marked the somber anniversary with a private memorial outside what is left of the buildings.
Liseth Perez lost her husband Andrea Panagopolous in the tragedy.
"It's good that the community still cares and remembers, and Melissa Viverito she takes the time to put us together here family and community to remember," Perez said.
Just last year, the state Public Service Commission determined Con Edison violated safety regulations because a gas pipe wasn't properly protected allowing it to give way under soil and asphalt.
The utility has since said it has doubled its efforts to improve gas safety, including more leak surveys, launching a gas safety awareness campaign, adding more layers to its quality control inspections.
Tito Miranda whose car was one of those totaled in the disaster thinks more accountability needs to happen.
"I've contacted Con Edison I've contacted the city I've put in claims there's been no contact in the past two years in regards to my vehicle," Miranda said.
For Perez, she understands the complexity of what happened, given the age of many buildings around New York City.
Her hope on this anniversary is that the lessons learned from the tragedy won't be forgotten.
"I think this was a wake-up call for New York City for Con Edison," Perez said.
Although the ceremony was only two hours — the victims won't be forgotten their names placed on this tree for everyone to see.