NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.
“There is a possibility here that the gas line was inappropriately accessed internally by people in the building,” but officials need to get access to the wreckage to explore it further, de Blasio said. He wouldn’t say more about why officials believe that’s a possibility.
Preliminary evidence suggested that an explosion amid plumbing and gas work inside the building was to blame.
Inspectors with utility Consolidated Edison had been to one of the now-destroyed buildings about an hour before the blast in the East Village to check on some ongoing work to upgrade gas service there. The utility said the work didn’t pass inspection, so gas wasn’t introduced to the line, and inspectors gave some instructions and left at around 2:45 p.m. Con Ed said inspectors didn’t smell any gas.