NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A state probe into the deadly East Harlem building explosion last March has revealed flaws in the training of Con Edison workers who handle underground natural gas pipes, according to a published report.
Con Edison said this week that the workers it trained to link together plastic gas mains did not comply with safety regulations, according to a New York Times report. A total of 301 workers had lapses in qualifications that in some cases went back more than a year, the newspaper reported.
Con Edison also said in a filing with the state Public Service Commission that upon retesting workers who put together plastic gas pipes, 62 workers failed the test and had to undergo retraining.
Con Ed said the worker who put together the pipe at the explosion site was fully qualified at the time, and flaws in worker training and testing were not related to the incident, the newspaper reported.
The cause of the East Harlem explosion has not yet been revealed by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The sudden explosion rocked the neighborhood on the morning of March 12, 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. Eight people were killed, and more than 60 were injured.
In May, Con Ed President Craig Ivey said the utility was starting a pilot program to have trucks that scan for stray voltage check for gas leaks as well.
He said Con Ed has been working with the NTSB and others to determine the causes of the blast.
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