Saturday marks one year since the East Village gas explosion that killed two people and leveled three buildings. NY1’s Michael Scotto went back to the site of the disaster with a woman who lost the apartment she had lived in for 45 years.
One year ago, Mildred Guy lost everything she owned when a gas explosion that began in a neighboring basement destroyed the building she had lived in for 45 years.
Even now, it's still hard for her to come back to the scene.
The explosion killed two people and leveled three buildings.
Guy works as a paraprofessional at a nearby school and was not home when the tragedy unfolded. She says she knows it could've been worse for her.
“I lost memories and material things. They lost loved ones,” she said.
Over the course of the year, Guy has been trying to rebuild her life.
Not long after the explosion, she found a studio apartment just blocks from her old home. It is smaller than the seven-room apartment she had on Second Avenue, but its furnishings show the generosity of her neighbors. Left with nothing, she launched a GoFundMe page and raised $37,000.
“I found out a lot of people cared,” she said. “And that just broke my heart.”
The site is hallowed ground, a memorial to those who died and a place where people come to reflect on the memories. All day long, passersby pause to remember the two young men whose lives were cut short.
Last month, five people, including the landlord of the buildings, were arrested in connection with a scheme that authorities say caused the explosion. Four of those people were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
As for Guy, she is still reminiscing about her old life but feeling optimistic about the future.
“I'm just grateful. I feel blessed,” she said.