City says it shouldn’t be on the hook for $17M East Village explosion lawsuit

Displaced residents say officials should have checked gas properly

The aftermath of the East Village explosion and “Sopranos” actress Drea de Matteo
The aftermath of the East Village explosion and “Sopranos” actress Drea de Matteo

The city claims it’s not responsible for damage caused by a fatal gas explosion in the East Village last year.

Attorneys for the city say it shouldn’t be on the hook for a $17 million lawsuit filed by “Sopranos” star Drea de Matteo and 35 of her neighbors, whose homes were destroyed in the March 2015 explosion, the New York Post reported.

“Whatever damages and/or injuries plaintiffs may have sustained were caused in whole or in part by (others’) culpable conduct,” the city attorneys said. “The city claims privilege and immunity from liability herein.”

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De Matteo, who played Adriana La Cerva on the HBO series, had lived at 123 Second Avenue with her family for 22 years. The five-story apartment building was one of three destroyed in the blast. Last month, the building’s owner sold the site for $6 million.

In their lawsuit, De Matteo and her neighbors accuse the city of failing to “properly test the gas lines.” The city claims that Con Edison, the building’s managers and the five people arrested in connection with the explosion are responsible for the damage.

The gas explosion, caused by an illegally-installed gas line at 121 Second Avenue, killed two people and injured 25 others. The building’s owner, Maria Hrynenko, and four others were arrested and charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide for their alleged role in the blast. The estate of one of the victims, Nicholas Figueroa, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hrynenko, a contractor and the city. [NYP]Kathryn Brenzel