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Con Ed Has Plan To Increase Gas Leak Patrols In Wake Of East Harlem Blast

Firefighters remove debris from the site of an explosion in East Harlem on March 13, 2014. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Firefighters remove debris from the site of an explosion in East Harlem on March 13, 2014. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Con Edison President Craig Ivey says the utility is starting a pilot program to have trucks that scan for stray voltage check for gas leaks as well.

Ivey said Friday that if the program is successful, Con Edison will expand it to substantially increase the number of gas leak patrols it performs.

Ivey was to announce the pilot program at a New York state Assembly hearing in Manhattan.

According to his prepared remarks, Ivey said everyone at Con Edison is deeply saddened by the March 12 explosion in East Harlem that killed eight people and injured more than 60.

PHOTOS: East Harlem BlastExplosion Aftermath

“We want to get to the bottom of what happened and we must do all we can  to prevent the chance of anything like that from happening again,” he said.

He said Con Ed is working with the National Transportation Board and others to determine the causes of the blast.

“Since the tragedy, we have been holding meetings with the city’s emergency officials to determine how we can improve the response to gas odor calls and other events involving street infrastructure,” Ivey said.

The sudden explosion rocked East Harlem about 15 minutes after someone reported smelling gas in a neighboring building, authorities said.

The blast brought down two five-story buildings that housed a church, a piano store and more than a dozen apartments, and hurled bricks, glass and other debris across the neighborhood.

Ivey said he could not comment on details of the explosion.

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