A building explosion in Harlem has claimed the lives of at least two people and left nearly two dozen injured. The explosion occurred this morning around 9:30 a.m. when nearby residents said they heard a loud boom that caused glass on storefronts to shatter.
According to the most recent reports, the major explosion was caused by a natural gas leak in the five-story apartment building, which is located on Park Avenue between 114th and 116th Streets. Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes and were able to put out the flames.
According to the New York City Fire Department, at least 22 people were injured in the incident, with two individuals suffering life-threatening injuries and four more suffering serious injuries. However, they indicated that more than 12 people are still unaccounted for.
Apparently, the explosion occurred minutes before a utility crew arrived at the building to investigate reports of a natural gas leakage. Even a worker from a store a block away said he could smell a hint of natural gas in the air about 45 minutes before the explosion took place.
Undoubtedly, an investigation will take place to determine the cause of the gas leak and subsequent explosion. Natural gas explosions can result from gas leaks in the pipes running to buildings, defective products such as gas stoves or a number of other reasons.
If negligent maintenance or defective products were to blame for the explosion, the parties responsible could likely face liability in personal injury lawsuits.
Although natural gas is a welcome part of our modern society, it can also cause destruction and destroy lives if the proper care is not used at all times.
Source: USA TODAY, “2 dead, 22 hurt in gas leak explosion in Harlem,” Melanie Eversley and Doug Stangli, March 12, 2014