5 years ago on March 26th, 2015
A gas explosion and fire destroys three buildings at Second Ave and St. Marks
The disaster killed two, injured 19, and displaced the residents of 144 apartments in neighboring buildings. The cause was determined to be an illegal tap into a natural gas line in the ground-floor Sushi Park restaurant that was serving the apartments above. Investigators theorized that the gas pipe had been illegally bypassed and then removed while ConEd inspected the pipes during an installation almost a year later. Then, the bypass was likely reinstalled and created a leak that ignited, destroying three buildings, setting a seven-alarm fire, and causing the evacuation of 11 surrounding buildings. Five arrests were made in connection with the explosion — the building owners, a plumber, and a contractor — on charges ranging from manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide and illegally modifying the gas lines. Of the five charged, the owner's son died at age 31 while awaiting sentencing, and just this week, the plumber received probation and community service for his role in the gas pipe modification. All others are still awaiting sentencing.