Main | Thursday, March 13, 2014

NEW YORK CITY: Search Continues In Harlem, Residents Blame Landlord

The search for bodies and possible survivors continues at the site of yesterday's explosion in Harlem. Residents of one of the destroyed buildings say they had complained to the landlord about a gas leak for weeks.
One of the victims was identified as 44-year-old Griselde Camacho, a public safety sergeant at Hunter College. The second victim was identified as 67-year-old Carmen Tanco, who lived on the second floor of one of the buildings. Rosaura Hernandez-Barrios, 21, was killed. Four bodies found overnight have not yet been identified. At least 69 other people are injured, at least two of them critically, including a 15-year-old boy. Harlem Hospital reports it has 13 patients, and Mount Sinai received 26 patients, including three children. A resident of one of the collapsed buildings, Ruben Borrero, said residents had complained to the landlord for weeks about the smell of gas, as recently as Tuesday. Con Ed says it received no gas complaints from the building before Wednesday. The Fire Department said it was checking its records for any gas complaints at the building. A team of NTSB experts arrived on the scene Wednesday evening to begin their investigation. "We will be looking at Con Ed's integrity management system, to see how they handled complaints reporting odors of gas," said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt. "We will look for any evidence of third party damage by digging."
Yesterday local housing activists suggested that gentrification may be partly to blame, as landlords are sometimes slow to make repairs in an attempt to clear out tenants in buildings that they want to sell.

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