Skip to comments.NYC building collapse subject of federal probe
Posted on 03/13/2014 5:18:36 PM PDT by smokingfrog
Federal safety authorities launched an investigation on Thursday into a gas explosion that caused the collapse a day earlier of two New York City apartment buildings, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others.
The still-smoldering rubble prevented investigators from getting close enough to examine the main pipe that supplies natural gas to the Upper East Side neighborhood, said Robert Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, which reviews accidents involving natural gas.
When firefighters say the area is safe, he said, investigators will conduct a pressure test on the pipe to find the location of the leak that may have caused the blast.
"We are operating under the assumption at this point that it is a natural gas leak that led to an explosion," Sumwalt said.
The explosion at about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday shook the East Harlem neighborhood shortly after a resident complained to the Con Edison utility about a gas odor.
Sumwalt said the scene was "in one word, devastating."
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
At that time, Con Ed shut off the gas and the building hired its own contractor to fix the leak. On July 3, Con Ed crews returned to the building to certify that repairs were done correctly, McGee said.
On February 10 and February 28, there were "high speed" checks made of the gas pipes, he said.
There were earlier reports that residents had complained during the past week and the day before. Phone records should be examined to either confirm or deny that complaints were filed.
It may be that the Gas company was negligent.
Also - I saw an NTSB guy on the news on the scene there yesterday, what jurisdiction could they have for something like this?
Debris from the explosion flew up onto the railroad/subway tracks right in front of the building.
NTSB deals with pipelines.
I saw a member of the church interviewed who had said she stopped to tell a deli owner about the gas she smelled the night before and he had said he’d have it checked.
Perhaps she should have just called 911 or the gas company directly.
Sounds like mission creep if they’re expanding their ‘pipeline’ responsibility to include local gas lines:
I don't like “gas” power, myself.I grew up with it. If the pilot light goes out...which it often did, I knew what to do. But then again, I also knew better than to smoke at a gas station, or defecate in a river.
I live in Florida, so I don't have to deal with it as much.
I wonder why the people in that neighborhood wouldn't have called the gas company emergency line immediately and repeatedly, upon scenting the odor of gas in the area?
Or were they just that stupid... not to know that if you ever smell the gas, there is a potentially lethal leak?
It's one or the other.
They either called or they did not.
Thanks - that explains it!
That is still no reason not to send in several thousand DHS employees to grope all of the residents before pronouncing the area safe.
What was originally reported was that the gas company had been called and just recently done work on the line, then had been called again.
Not sure who’s right and what’s accurate here at this point.
Never "waist" a crisis.
No mission creep. The NTSB has had jurisdicition over pipeline safety. There use to be a separate division in the NTSB know as the Office of Pipeline Safety or OPS. Many years ago as part of my engineering duties, I did compliance consulting.
But are you talking about pipelines like Keystone—or every single gas line into any home across the country?
Huh, I had no idea.
I guess we should never underestimate the reach of the federal government.
I think NYC has extensive vulnerability with old cast iron pipes.
I don't live in NY, but there are some gas lines in Florida.
Is there a way for the general public to review records?
People needed to call about the gas odor, the utility or 911. Maybe it’s an “urban” thing...worked a bad cracked main recently and people would walk by saying they were smelling it for a couple days already and how bad it smelled. They all said “Someone finally called you...”
It's a lot of information to take in, but it was fairly easy to discern that Florida doesn't have many gas mains, of any kind, so it is just one less thing to worry about for myself.
Given our geology, I am thankfull that previous Floridians did not overly invest in that particular type of power supply.
Again, thank you very much for responding with valuable information on a topic I know very little about!
One more thing I forgot to mention. The majority of leaks are usually what they call third party. That is someone who didn’t call before digging. I’m am glad the link was helpful.