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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who is to Blame for the E. Harlem Explosion? Why Were Previous Calls Ignored by ConEd

explosion east harlem
Many of the tenants of the two E. Harlem buildings that exploded say they complained of a gas smell for months and nothing was done about it.  

“You came into the building, the gas smell was overwhelming,” recalled Ruben Borrero, 32, a second-floor tenant at 1646 Park Ave. “It was hard to get from the front door to the apartment, that's how bad the smell was. We had to open up windows to air it out."

According to records, the owner of the buildings had been cited for a crack discovered in 2008. 

Tenants say the Mayor's statement of the calls coming just minutes before the explosion is BS.  ConEd had been called multiple times.  In fact, just before Christmas, FDNY came to the building due to several tenants calling in about the smell of gas. 

Borrero’s sister, Sarah, said her daughter, Kimberly, calling tried 311 again Tuesday night but didn’t get through. She tried again early Wednesday but gave up before heading off to school.

So what really triggered this explosion?  While they are still investigating, about  nine months ago a contractor installed a new gas line from the basement to the 5th floor in one of the buildings, and was allowed to sign off on his own work under a common practice known as “self-certification.” At the time, the installation was “audited” by the city to ensure there were no leaks and as of Wednesday officials said there was no suggestion the new pipe caused the leak.

Well, if no one's checking the checker, this could be a major problem.  How can you sign off on your own work as being completed correctly.  

I don't know, but it seems like a call about a gas leak would be serious, at least that's what the gas company says when you call them.  Perhaps it wasn't just that serious, until now!  Somebody dropped the ball and somebody needs to pay up.  You can't bring back lives lost, but the ignoring calls on such a serious matter is a sign that someone is/was not doing their job!

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