The Real Deal New York

Gas leak found by East Harlem blast investigators

Federal agency says pipe near two buildings destroyed in explosion failed a pressure test

March 19, 2014 12:50PM

From left: Chairman of NTSB Deborah Hersman and

From left: Chairman of NTSB Deborah Hersman and firefighters amid the rubble of 1644-1646 Park Avenue (Credit: Khalid Kahn)

The agency investigating an explosion last week in East Harlem that killed eight people found a leak in a natural gas main near one of the buildings that collapsed from the blast.

The National Transportation Safety Board said an 8-inch cast-iron and plastic pipeline adjacent to 1646 Park Avenue between 116th and 117th streets failed a pressure test, Crain’s reported.

A March report on the city’s infrastructure found that cast-iron gas pipes similar to the one near the explosion site are prone to leaks, as previously reported. Portions of the service pipeline in the building’s basement, along with those from the other collapsed building at 1644 Park Avenue, will be sent to the federal agency’s lab in Washington, D.C., according to a press release.

The NTSB is operating under the assumption that the explosion was caused by a gas leak, as previously reported. Gas supplier Con Edison received calls from residents of the neighborhood about a possible gas leak just prior to the explosion. The agency is also collecting Con Ed’s call records and maintenance history of troublesome gas lines, the New York Post reported.

Con Ed is still working to restore gas service to adjacent buildings, according to the release. [Crain's] and [New York Post]Angela Hunt

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