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Probe Into Harlem Gas Explosion Continues

The lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy continue to bring you news about the Harlem gas explosion that rocked the neighborhood last week. The fatal blast killed 8 people and seriously injured countless others.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now running the investigation into the Harlem blast. Reportedly the NTSB is carefully reviewing logs and maintenance records of the problematic gas lines involved in the explosion. According to The New York Post, the NTSB is set to release a report tomorrow updating the public on their findings. This report will be extremely interesting so check back in with us to learn more.

Meanwhile, crews from Con Ed have been busy attempting to find the location of the gas leaks and determine why they occurred. What are some possibilities?

As far as Con Ed Is concerned, if the aging pipes and infrastructure were not appropriately maintained, then the agency may have a great deal of explaining to do. Con Ed also claims they did surveys in an attempt to demonstrate how thorough they were prior to the leak. But that strategy may backfire. How?

These surveys allegedly occurred over the summer and NTSB officials seem to suggest that their investigation is pointing to the gas leaks existing for a great deal of time before the explosion. The inference is that the long-standing leaks may have existed as far back as this past summer. Perhaps the earlier reports of residents claiming that the smell of gas permeated the neighborhood for months was credible. Maybe these complaints should have been investigated more? Did Con Ed, during their surveys, miss the gas leaks? If they had identified these leaks earlier, could this accident have been avoided? These are some of many questions that we hope the NTSB report will shed light on. We know from experience that the NTSB will conduct a thorough investigation and will pull no punches. Historically, the NTSB calls out any and all wrongdoers.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City released some of their findings about the cause of death for the eight deceased victims. Autopsies by the city forensic pathologists revealed that all eight died from either burns, smoke inhalation or blunt trauma. Specifically, George Amadeo, 42, Andreas Panagopoulos, 43, Griselde Camacho, 48 and Rosaura Barrios, 44, all died in grisly fashion due to blunt force trauma to the upper body and head. Mayuni Nakamura, 34, Alexis "Jordy" Salas, 22, Rosaura Hernandez, 21, died of either burns, smoke inhalation or a lethal combination of the two. Notably, all of these unwary victims were young. The manner in which they passed is unconscionable. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their loved ones.

Where do the family and friends of the victims go from here? They need to stay together, stay strong and try to move forward with their lives. Healing is as much about joyfully remembering the past and the great experiences you enjoyed with person or persons that you lost as it is about grief. So, they should embrace the time they spent with their loved one and try to honor them by living their lives with grace and dignity. They also do deserve answers and some semblance of justice.

Eventually, the NTSB is going to release their findings. Whether it is Con Ed or some other powerful corporate entity or municipality that caused this, the victims and their family members will want a qualified and experienced lawyer fighting for them. They should carefully review the track record of any lawyer or law firm that they are considering. They should ask a lot of questions: questions like, how many significant verdicts have you taken? How many lawyers are in your firm? How many cases does your firm carry? How many lawyers will be assigned to the case? The lawyer you choose should be a personal injury lawyer that you and your family trust and are comfortable with. There are many lawyers who may want your case, but the real question is: are they capable of handling it?

Block O'Toole & Murphy is a law firm that prides itself in taking on agencies like Con Edison and giant municipalities like the City of New York. The trial lawyers at the firm have more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their clients. According to New York Magazine and The New York Law Journal, the firm has published more settlements exceeding one-million dollars than any other law firm in all of New York State over the last two years. To learn more about the law firm of Block O'Toole & Murphy, please see the firm website at For a free consultation, you may call them at 212.736.5300.