Lawyer for EV explosion landlord blames Con Ed

Building owner would never intentionally harm anyone, he claims
April 02, 2015 08:30AM

A lawyer for Maria Hrynenko, the owner of the East Village building where a gas leak caused an explosion that killed two last week, is trying to deflect blame away from her and toward Con Edison.

Hrynenko, who owned two buildings that were destroyed, 119 and 121 Second Avenue, “would not harm anybody intentionally,” her lawyer, Thomas Curtis, told the New York Times.

When Hrynenko received a complaint of a gas odor on the day of the explosion, she sent her son and a contractor to investigate — an error in hindsight, her lawyer conceded. Both men were injured in the explosion.

While Hrynenko was remiss not to call 911 or call the gas company immediately, Curtis questioned Con Edison’s actions, pointing out that two inspectors from the company were at the property shortly before the blast and found that the gas line was inadequate, but did not anticipate the disaster.

Investigators looking into the cause of the explosion have focused on a history of unauthorized tapping of the gas line at 121 Second Avenue, where the leak occurred. There is a possibility of criminal charges.

Two victims of the explosion were identified earlier this week — Nicholas Figueroa, 23, and Moises Locon, 27. [NYT] — Tess Hofmann