Quantcast
Connect with us

Utility workers found ‘hazardous situation’ in gas line before NYC blast

Published

on

Utility workers dispatched in August to one of three buildings destroyed in an explosion and fire in Manhattan last week found dangerous gas line connections that created a “hazardous situation,” a Con Edison spokesman said on Saturday.

The crew was sent to the building after a Con Edison worker reading gas meters smelled gas on Aug. 6 in the basement, said Con Edison spokesman Allan Drury.

ADVERTISEMENT

The basement could hold the key to the cause of the devastation, in which 22 people were injured – four critically – and two people remained unaccounted for, police said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the blast was possibly tied to someone “inappropriately” tapping into a gas line.

The owner of the sushi restaurant where the explosion occurred told The New York Times that utility workers determined that gas intended for his restaurant was being siphoned off illegally for use in newly renovated apartments upstairs.

Drury said that utility workers found multiple leaks on Aug. 6 in hoses that had been connected to the gas line leading to a restaurant in the building, creating a “hazardous situation.” He noted that Con Edison shut off the building’s gas for about 10 days, until it was determined to be safe.

On Saturday, rescue crews with cadaver dogs clawed through smoldering rubble in the search for two people still unaccounted for. Authorities said it could take a week of careful digging through twisted debris, bricks and splintered wood before the basement is reached.

ADVERTISEMENT

In all 11 buildings were evacuated, leaving residents of 144 apartments needing places to stay. Con-Ed said they may return to their homes as soon as Sunday.

Investigators were looking into whether gas and plumbing work being done privately in one building led to the explosion.

An hour before the blast Con Edison utility inspectors had been at the scene and determined that pre-existing work was not satisfactory, but the problems were not safety related, the mayor said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The contractor, identified as Dilber Kukic, was one of 50 people arrested in February in a sweep of the city by building and housing inspectors. He was accused of bribing an undercover investigator to dismiss violations at two properties, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said. The hospitalized Kukic could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Scott Malone, Greg Mahlich, Chris Michaud and Michael Perry)

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

‘This is not about tweets!’ GOP lawmaker deflects wildly when asked about Trump’s attacks on Yovanovitch

Published

on

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Friday was not happy to be asked about President Donald Trump's tweets attacking former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

During a press conference that occurred after the day's impeachment hearings, Stefanik tried to make the case that nothing in Yovanovitch's testimony provided any reason to impeach the president.

She was thrown off her game, however, when a reporter asked her whether the president's tweet harmed her party's ability to send a consistent message.

"We're not here to talk about tweets but impeachable offenses!" she angrily replied. "Let me answer your question. These hearings are not about tweets. They are about impeachment of the president of United States. This is a constitutional matter."

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘I demand to speak!’ Republican bursts into anger over Adam Schiff’s closing remarks

Published

on

Republican Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) was not pleased that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) got the last word at the second public impeachment hearing on Friday.

During his closing remarks, Schiff said Trump had engaged in "an effort to coerce, condition or bribe a foreign country into doing [his] dirty work."

"The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery. Doesn’t make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it was unsuccessful. And to that we owe other dedicated public servants who blew the whistle. Had they not blown the whistle we wouldn’t be here and I think it is appalling that my colleagues continue to want to out this whistleblower so that he or she can be punished by this president," Schiff said.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

‘I’m sorry — is there a question there?’ Yovanovitch snaps back at Jim Jordan’s jumbled posturing

Published

on

As questioning of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch resumed on the second day of the House's public hearing in their impeachment inquiry, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to suggest that there was a culture of anti-Trump sentiment amongst elements of the Ukrainian government and its US envoys.

Jordan then questioned Yovanovitch as to why she didn't try to intervene to make the environment less politicized.

"One of the things we've heard so much over the last six weeks in depositions, and frankly in the hearing on Wednesday, is how important bipartisan support is for Ukraine," Jordan said addressing Yovanovitch. "Democrats and Republicans agree they want to help Ukraine, in fact, [Ambassador Bill Taylor] said, 'Ukraine's most strategic asset is this bipartisan support...'"

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image