Martha Dagbasta Killed, Others Injured in Longwood Explosion

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

A violent explosion erupted at a Bronx home on January 18, 2022, leaving one dead and several others injured. Investigators have not yet confirmed the cause of the explosion. However, neighbors reportedly smelled gas in the hours prior to the incident.

First responders quickly arrived at the scene after receiving a call shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Body camera footage shared by the NYPD shows officers rushing into the building to rescue those still inside. Three elderly women were found inside; two are thankfully now in stable condition at Jacobi Hospital. Tragically, 77-year-old Martha Dagbasta died as a result of injuries sustained in the explosion. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones after this devastating accident.

A doorbell camera located on a neighbor’s home across the street captured the frightening blast. The home, located on Fox Street in the Longwood neighborhood of the Bronx, quickly caught fire, which spread to adjacent buildings, and eventually collapsed. A witness told reporters, “I just heard an explosion. I checked my window and I see the third house was just on fire completely.”

NYC Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. confirmed four homes must now be demolished as a result of damages caused by the explosion.

We hope investigators are eventually able to pinpoint what led to this catastrophic accident. While they have not confirmed the exact cause, it appears a gas leak is a strong possibility. Gas was shut off on the entire block once first responders gained control of the situation. Fire investigators and representatives from gas company Con Edison were reportedly on scene to determine the cause of the explosion.

Gas leaks in New York City are worryingly more common than one would assume. New York has some of the oldest infrastructure of any city in the country. Below city streets are utility lines that are difficult for gas companies to update and maintain due to the city’s population density.

Utility infrastructure is also heavily impacted by NYC’s heavy traffic, subway vibrations, and severe changes in weather. These combined circumstances result in worn gas pipes that leak throughout the city. In a 2019 investigation, reporters from ABC News found that while Con Edison claims to report and repair all gas leaks in the city, many go either unnoticed or unreported, leaving many potential fire hazards unsettled.

While gas leaks may be common in NYC, they are still incredibly dangerous. It is crucial that efforts be made to improve city infrastructure to keep residents safe in their homes. Gas companies are responsible for preventing injury and damage to the public from any gas that may escape their lines. If a gas distributor is made aware of any potential hazards, it is their duty to immediately repair the faults or shut off the affected lines until repairs can be made.

If you or someone you know has suffered a devastating injury as a result of another party’s negligence, you may have a legal right to compensation. To discuss your case with the personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online.



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