Con Edison and New York City are reason behind East Harlem explosion
On Tuesday, Federal regulators said that an explosion in East Harlem, in which eight people were killed last year, would not have taken place if two of Consolidated Edison's gas pipes had been welded in proper way.
However, the regulators at the National Transportation Safety Board also added that the defective connection between those pipes could not have resulted in disaster had New York City fixed a gaping hole in a close sewer main that was known to have the problem for at least eight years.
The two failings led to the blast and resulted in fire, destroying two five-story apartment buildings on Park Avenue. It displaced over 100 families and a number of small businesses, according to the safety board.
According to Christopher A. Hart, the chairman of the safety board, "These factors aligned to create the accident, but there were others". He said that neighborhood residents did not report the gas odor they observed and Con Edison also did not inform the Fire Department; someone else told the company regarding the matter.
A number of lawsuits have been filed by victims of the explosion and their families against the utility company and Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration.
Con Ed executives appreciated focus of the safety board on the damaged sewer main, which is said to have led to erosion of the soil that held the company's gas pipe under the street. According to the company officials, repair of that damage by the city's Department of Environmental Protection would have prevented the disaster.