Around 9:30 am Thursday, an explosion demolished two New York City apartment buildings located just north of Central Park. The explosion was heard for miles as smoke billowed above the city. Over 160 firefighters were sent to battle the resulting fire while they looked for residents of the buildings. The cause of the explosion is reported to be caused by a gas leak that had been a long time problem according to residents. One of the residents said he complained about the gas as recently as Tuesday, saying, “It was unbearable.” About 15 minutes before the explosion, a neighboring resident reported smelling gas and a 12 person NTSB go team was on its way to check it out. There are conflicting reports, but sadly there have been an estimated 8 deaths and 60 injuries. Luckily, none of the responders were hurt.
The explosion is extremely unfortunate in many ways. First of all, the problem was clearly not new and if it had been fixed lives would have been saved. A tenant in the building said the smell of gas was so strong that a resident on the top floor broke open the door to the roof for ventilation. He also said that city officials had been called about the odor. It’s crazy that nobody took this seriously enough to investigate it in a timely manner. Also, the explosion clearly stirred fears for New Yorkers in the surrounding areas. Caregivers at a nearby daycare center said the children heard the explosion and the staff said they immediately thought of the 9/11 terror attacks. More recently than that were the bombings in Boston and a nearby market owner thought a bomb was the source of the explosion. I think it’s safe to say that this explosion caused a lot of fear and anxiety in New Yorkers when it likely could have been prevented. Thankfully it wasn’t a terrorist attack and had it been given the proper attention it could have been prevented. It’s just sad that people are living in fear and assume it’s a bomb when these things happen. It’s also extremely sad that people had to lose loved ones and all of their belongings to something that should have been prevented. Hopefully this inspires new protocol to prevent situations like this from happening again.