Today four buildings in the East Village have been extensively damaged by fire, 2 have collapsed and one other may collapse. There was an explosion about 3.30pm today and initial reports were, quite appropriately, garbled and mostly innaccurate except for the report of an explosion and fire. It has since emerged that the explosion took place in or nearf the kitchen of a Japanese sushi restaurant at 121 2nd Ave near 7th St, with workmen attempting remedial work to enable a gas upgrade to take place.
A fierce fire broke out after the explosion which spread to the building at 119 2nd Ave, then the buildings at 123 and 125 2nd Ave. Buildings at 121 and 123 have already collapsed and 119 is in danger of collapsing. The building at 125 has been affected by fire but not as seriosuly as the other buildings. Figures on who has been hurt and how badly keep changing. The latest figures are 19 injured with 4 those critically. At 8.00pm firefighters were still dampening down the fires but shooting flames were no longer visible. 250 firefighters attended this blaze, see the video.
Apparently renovations of some sort were taking place at buildings 121 and 123 2nd Ave which had commenced last August. And today, prior to the explosion Con Edison had attended at 121 to rule on whether the building was suitable for a gas upgrade and when it was ruled it wasn’t, they left instructions on what work had to be done to bring it up to grade. How many people were home at the time of the explosion is not known but there have been no deaths reported thankfully. It seems a total of 49 apartments have been affected by the explosion and subsequent fire and our hearts go out to the large number of New Yorkers affected by this explosion and fire.
Just over a year ago two buildings were flattened by a gas explosion in Harlem. The similiar elements between these 2 events are older buildings and gas mains. The report on the Harlem fire is due out soon so in light of this subsequent explosion and fire New Yorkers will be looking for answers on just how safe the old gas main infrastructure is, especially in buildings that are over 100 years or so old.
If the age of facilities and buildings has created ongoing danger of explosions and fires one hopes the City Administration will be able to draw on what has been discovered about the Harlem event to carry out whatever work needs to be done to avoid further danger to New Yorkers and where they live. One would think Con Edison is also keen to ensure further incidents can be avoided.