NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– A vigil was held in New York Saturday evening to remember the victims of the East Village explosion one year after the deadly blast.
Family and friends of the two people who died gathered on Second Avenue and East 7th Street. The explosion leveled three buildings on Second Avenue last March.READ MORE: Anti-Violence Advocates Rally In Harlem Following Death Of 10-Year-Old Boy On Saturday
The tragedy was blamed on the illegal tampering of a gas line, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported. The father of one of the victims spoke to reporters about his son, 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa.
“I miss him dearly, he was my oldest son. I got my three other boys that I care for and my wife. I miss him dearly and wish we didn’t have to go through this right now,” he said.
The other victim was 27-year-old Moises Locon, who was a restaurant worker.
Others who lost their homes in the explosion talked to 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman.
“I feel I’m at peace. I feel blessed that I’m here to talk about it,” Mildred Guy said.READ MORE: NYPD: 28-Year-Old Woman Shot To Death Outside Catering Hall In Cypress Hills, Brooklyn
Four people were indicted last month on manslaughter and other criminal charges.
The building’s owner, Maria Hrynenko, her son, plus a contractor and a plumber allegedly tampered with the building’s gas line, and then failed to warn residents.
The disaster that resulted is leading to new laws, including legislation to mandate more inspections of gas lines.
“These laws are in honor of Nicholas and Moises and the entire East Village community,” New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said.
A section of the blast site could fetch an estimated $10 million if sold to developers. Politicians say they want to make sure the owners who were allegedly negligent do not benefit.MORE NEWS: CBS2 Weather Headlines: Clear, Cold Overnight; Slightly Warmer Monday; Bigger Boost Tuesday
Families at the vigil were promised the city will crack down on landlords who, perhaps motivated by greed, scheme to take deadly shortcuts.