NY, NY – A Queens gas explosion Friday has injured 17 and left tenants of thirty-seven of the total ninety apartments homeless for the moment. The explosion occurred just before 4:30 p.m. Friday and just moments after gas was resupplied to the building after a month-long firefighters-ordered interruption.
Con Edison was at the building repairing the gas lines less than 15 minutes before the explosion on Sanford Avenue in Flushing. However, responsibility apparently lays with the owner and the plumber. Con Edison said all their pipes checked OK and there were no gas leaks. Apparently, a lit stove might have caused the blast, which some reports say was preceded by a strong smell of gas.
Councilman John Liu announced there is a possibility of criminal neglect and an investigation will be launched. The gas had been turned off following a June 11 kitchen blaze, together with hot water. The hot water was turned back on early this month.
There is no structural damage, but almost half of the 90 apartments were uninhabitable. The Red Cross allegedly set up a temporary shelter at Junior High School 189Q across the street from the building. At least two victims have been critically injured: a man and a 23-month-old girl. They both suffer from severe burns and receive intensive care.