Douglas Walker Faces Reckless Endangerment, Assault Charges

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A contract worker has been charged in connection with a blast that injured seven people at a college in South Nyack.

Douglas Walker, 44, of South Nyack was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment and assault on Tuesday in connection with the June 4 explosion at Nyack College.

Officials said a gap in an underground gas connection may have contributed to the explosion. A day after the blast, crews had found evidence of recent excavation and heavy equipment work on the ground above the steel service pipe which had pulled free of its connection to the gas main.

Although few details were offered about Walker in the days leading up to the explosion, his actions were believed to have been unintentional, but Police Chief Brent Newbury said “he should have been more responsible,” the Journal News reported.

The explosion happened just before noon at the Sky Island Lodge on South Highland Avenue. Two students and five employees were treated for burns, shrapnel wounds and broken bones.

The blast shattered windows and caused a fire that was extinguished by an in-house sprinkler system.

Orange & Rockland Utilities had to cut electricity to several hundred customers. Gas service also was disrupted to dozens of customers.

Walker was released without bail. He is due in court on Monday.

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