NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A damaged gas pipe near an excavation site may be to blame for an explosion Tuesday on the campus of Nyack College, according to Orange & Rockland Utilities.
Seven people were hurt when the blast happened shortly before noon at a building known as the Sky Island Lodge on South Highland Avenue.
The college said two students and five employees were taken to the hospital. The victims suffered burns, shrapnel wounds and broken bones, but none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.
“We’re just so thankful that school was out because if this was a month ago, it would’ve been fully staffed,” South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian.
O&R said damage to a gas service line that feeds a campus gym from a gas main on South Highland Drive is now the main focus of its investigation into the explosion.
Tuesday night, crews found evidence of recent excavation and heavy equipment work on the ground above the service pipe’s location, the utility said.
Further investigation found that the steel service pipe had pulled free of its connection to the gas main, O&R said.
For more than an hour after the explosion, O&R crews detected levels of gas seven times higher than normal in manhole covers near the scene.
Of the 30 customers who gas service was cut as a result of the explosion, 16 have been restored, O&R said. More are set to be brought back on line Wednesday.
The investigation into the damaged gas service line is ongoing.
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