By Rebecca Fishbein
The city has stepped up efforts to inspect buildings’ gas lines in the wake of the East Village building explosions last March, after investigators found unauthorized siphoning of gas likely caused the explosion.
The Times reports that the Buildings Department conducted 343 gas line inspections in 2015, five times more than they conducted in 2014. The department has also boosted its number of inspectors, and overhauled how utility companies like Con Edison handle complaints about “unauthorized gas plumbing,” forcing the companies to immediately notify the Buildings Department or the Office of Emergency Management so the issue can be addressed.
Earlier this month, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office indicted five people in connection with last March’s explosion, which leveled three buildings and killed two people. General contractor Dilber Kukic, building owner Maria Hrynenko, her son and building facilities manager Michael Hrynenko, and two plumbers, Athanasios Ionnidis and Andrew Trombettas, were all charged, with DA Cyrus Vance alleging that the workers installed unapproved gas meters at 121 and 119 Second Avenue and set up an unsafe, leak-prone flexible hose system to channel gas into apartments upstairs.