Thursday afternoon, Manhattan’s East Village was shaken to the core by a powerful explosion which caused two buildings to collapse and which injured at least 19 people, four of whom were critically injured. The explosion is believed to have been gas-related.
Inspectors from New York’s gas utility Consolidated Edison went to the Second Avenue building to evaluate mater installations for a new service around 2 p.m. The explosion occurred at 3:17. The spokesperson for the company said that they conducted a survey on Wednesday and that they found no leaks on the block.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has come forward, saying that the explosion was gas-related, but that the details are still not known. He has also told the press that investigators are talking to the employees of Consolidated Edison who previously inspected the work done by an unnamed private contractors firm at the building.
The explosion caused the collapse of the building in question and parts of one of the neighboring buildings, injuring people with burns and shrapnels of scattering debris. New York Fire Department teams were on the site in matter of minutes, carrying people out of the building and dealing with the flames.
The explosion once again calls to attention to the state of gas mains in older parts of New York which are often antiquated and inadequate. Center for an Urban Future, based in New York, said in a report that the aging infrastructure in New York city, “could wreak havoc on the city’s economy and quality of life.” According to this report, an estimated $47.3 billion would need to be invested in repairs necessary to maintain safety of the residents of New York.