NYC BLAST: Bribery, Tampering and Carnage

Mar 30, 2015 - 0 Comments

The deadly NYC blast last week that leveled three Manhattan buildings, injured 22, and killed two, was likely caused by a corrupt contractor tampering with gas fixtures in the basement. 

"There's reason to believe so far that there may have been inappropriate tampering with the gas lines within the building," suggested mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday.

In 2014 the landlord’s contractor was already charged in an unrelated matter for attempting to bribe a housing inspector who, it turned out, was actually an undercover agent. And only an hour before the massive inferno erupted, legitimate inspectors from Consolidated Edison had flunked the gas line upgrades he had in progress there.

Con Ed is the energy provider for all five boroughs of New York City. A spokesperson from the company says the building that blew had failed similar renovations last summer and that, this time, when work was found to be subpar again, the pipeline had been “locked” so it couldn’t be used.

Fifteen minutes after those inspectors left, however, a sushi restaurant worker smelled fumes, but called the property owner instead of 911 or Con Ed.

When the landlord’s contractor and son arrived shortly thereafter, they tried to enter the basement where a strong gas odor was emanating from, and in the process set off the gas explosion.

The deadly NYC blast is therefore being investigated first and foremost as a criminal matter, since the catastrophe was clearly not caused by any structural defects in the building.

"The focus of the investigation is not on infrastructure,” said Joseph Esposito, commissioner of the city's Office of Emergency Management. “It's focusing on the work that was being done in the basement of those locations."


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