Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Explosion and Fire Accidents

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Dilber Kubic a contractor accused of manipulating the gas line that led to the fatal explosion of a building in the lower east side in March 2015 is back at it. The contractor who was arrested after the accident is now doing illegal construction work in Harlem. Kubic is due to appear in court on March 23rd for the 2nd Ave accident.

MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS OPENED AGAINST THE BUILDING

According to people living in the building on West 154St in Harlem, Kubic was doing demolition work in 3 one-bedroom units to convert them into 2 two-bedrom units. Kubic doesn’t have any permit for this job. A broker for the building told the NY Daily News that he stopped working for the building after the alleged  illegal work started. He also filed a complaint that is being investigated by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. Investigators were unable to enter the building on Thursday and posted a notice for the landlord to get back to them. Journalists from the NY Daily News were able to get in and talk to tenants. They said contractors gutted all the walls in the apartments making terrible noise. The Daily News was also contacted by Joe Yusef owner of Allstate Home Remodeling who told the Newspaper that he hired Kubic to work for him. The News also called the landlord who replied that he didn’t know which apartments the News journalist was talking about. The building conditions are scary and tenants are dealing with mold, roaches and crumbling infrastructure. There are 18 violations opened with the Department of Buildings including 2 for defective elevators. In the past the landlord paid a $10,000 fine for not submitting papers to renovate the exterior of the building. He has a history of non-compliance. Read more in the NY Daily News

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two people died and 9 were injured in a fire accident in New York City. The fire started on the first floor of a building located on Hoffman Street near 87th Street in Belmont, Bronx around 1:30 am on Monday morning. After the fire broke out in one of the apartments on the first floor, tenants ran away without closing the door behind them to prevent flames from spreading. The fire quickly engulfed the rest of the building trapping residents on the second floor.  The scene was extremely chaotic as firefighters had to fight the flames to make their way upstairs to save the residents. 11 of them including a 7 year old girl were transported to the hospital, some with critical burn injuries. Two of them died shortly after.

Last December a similar fire accident occurred in the same neighborhood killing 13 people. The fire propagated in a similar manner in the building after a door was left opened by tenants as they were escaping their burning apartment. (Read previous post).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9zX2HV5k7o

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After 13 people died and 4 were critically injured in a fire accident in New York City, the FDNY  reminds New Yorkers that a simple move can save lives. If you are fleeing a room on fire, shut the door behind you! In apartment buildings this simple action can prevent the fire from spreading to hallways and stairs. In houses, closing a door can save the whole structure. Above all all it can prevent others from being injured or from dying.

Last month, a fire started in the kitchen of an apartment located at 2363 Prospect Ave in Belmont. A young mother was in the kitchen and ran away leaving the kitchen door opened behind her. This allowed the fire to spread upstairs and then throughout the entire building. 12 people died in the fire including four children. 4 other people were critically injured. Among them was a man who died from his injuries a few days later. The FDNY believes that if the kitchen door had been closed, the deaths and injuries may have been prevented.

If you find yourself in a situation were you have to flee from a fire just remember one thing: Close the Door!

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A 12 year old boy died in a fire accident in Queens, NYC. Thomas Curly was sleeping in his bedroom Sunday around 3:00 am when a fire erupted in the apartment he was living in with his family on Ocean Promenade near Beach 123rd Street in Rockaway Park. Thomas was living on the sixth floor of a five story building with his grandfather, his mother and his mother’s boyfriend. All of them were able to escape except for Thomas who got stuck in his bedroom. According to investigators, the fire was accidentally set by someone smoking in the apartment. Additionally there were no smoke alarms in the apartment. Smoke alarms are required by law in New York City. They may have saved the life of the young boy.

A few hours later another fire erupted in Harlem on First Ave near Tito Puente Way.  The fire ravaged an apartment on the seventh floor of a 32 story building. A 64 year old woman was found dead by the firefighters. Another victim was transported to the hospital. Read more in the NY Daily News

 

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Defective Hoverboard Lazy BoardDespite the many fire accidents and injuries caused by defective lithium-ion battery packs in hoverboards, the toy remains among the most popular holiday gifts. If you or your kids own a self balancing scooter or if you are planning to buy one as a gift you should visit the Consumer  Product Safety Commission website and check on the recent Self Balancing Scooter recalls. Here are some of the most recently recalled models:

  • The Layz Board hoverboard was recently the subject of a second warning by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to the agency this hoverboard caused a fire on October 23, 2017, in Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, which destroyed one town home and damaged four others. The hoverboard was the object of a previous warning in May 2017 after two young girls died in a house fire caused by the Layz Board hoverboard on March 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Salvage World just recalled 700 Smart Balance Wheel self-balancing Scooters/Hoverboards. The battery can overheat and pose a risk of smoking, exploding or catching fire
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22 year old Joanna Mei is responsible for the fire that killed two people and injured 10 others in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, on Thursday. The 22 year old nursing student was charged with two counts of murder and arson. Mei told the police that she was upset with the trash filling the hallway and with the death of a relative several years ago. She explained that she set a garbage can on fire and then felt bad about it and tried to kick the can to stop the fire. Instead the burning rubble spread on the floor and reached some nearby gasoline which erupted into flames. Then the fire quickly started to spread all over the building. There were no smoke detectors in the whole building. Specially trained dogs sniffed gasoline on Mei clothes as well as in other spots of the building including on the third floor where the two victims were living. The victims, 58 year old Xi Huang and 56 year old Feng Xu were a couple from China. They had moved into the building a little less than a year ago. Mei also lived on the third floor.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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gas-metersTo prevent dangerous gas explosions or other gas accidents in New York City, the New York City Council passed the Gas Piping Work Civil Penalty Amnesty Program last spring.  This program that will end soon offers home owners the opportunity to bring potentially unsafe gas piping work up to code compliance without being subjected to any penalties. Home owners have until October 5th to apply for a permit. In most cases the Department of Building will authorize the request the same day as it was submitted.  For more information email LAA-Amnesty@buildings.nyc.gov read this Patch article

This amnesty program was created after investigations in recent deadly NYC gas explosions concluded that explosions were caused by negligent or illegal installations of pipes. In 2014 an explosion in an East Harlem building caused the death of 8 people. Last year another explosion in the East Village destroyed 3 buildings and killed two people.

Picture: courtesy of DOB

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25 firefighters were injured in a fire in New York. 23 of them had to be hospitalized and 2 of them were treated at the scene of the accident according to AM New York. No civilians were injured. The fire started in the lower level of a large Tribeca commercial and residential building located at the corner of Church and Murray at the end of the afternoon last Friday. The FDNY is still investigating the cause of the fire. According to the Gothamist, the fire was ignited in the kitchen of a restaurant located on the ground floor and quickly spread into the duct work and the rest of the building. Heavy black smoke came out of the building and spread through the financial district. The fire that began as a two-alarm fire turned into a 6-alarm one necessitating 200 firefighters to respond.  The Post indicates that the building had 3 unresolved fire safety violations from 8 months ago:

  1. failure to provide a fire-alarm system.
  2. inappropriate fire exit.
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FDNY fighting NYC home fireA couple died and their 17 year old daughter was injured in a home fire in Brooklyn, NYC. 61 year old Howard Gluck and 59 year old Evelyn Gluck as well as their 17 year old daughter were sleeping in their two-story home located on 44th Street between Fort Hamilton Parkway and 12th Avenue  in Borough Park, when a fire broke out on the first floor and spread to the second floor around 3:45 am yesterday morning. The FDNY told the media that the fire had probably been going for a while until someone noticed it and called 911. By the time the firefighters arrived, the fire had already engulfed the stairwells.  The couple was found unconscious in a back bedroom on the second floor of the house. They were rushed to the hospital but it was too late and they both passed away. Their daughter was found on the roof of the porch and rescued by the firefighters. She suffered injury and was also transported to the hospital to be treated. She is now in stable condition. The daughter survived because she was able to climb out to a first floor landing before being rescued by the firefighters.

The Glucks had been living in their house for nearly 40 years. They were the first Jewish family to move into the neighborhood and beloved members of a tight knit community. Everybody was in shock yesterday in the neighborhood. Maureen Weiner, who had been living in the house next to them for almost 40 years as well was devastated by the news. She said they were the nicest people.

138 firefighters were called to the rescue to keep the blaze under control and make sure it didn’t spread to neighboring houses. 3 firefighters also suffered minor injury in the exercise of their duty. According to the fire marshals the fire was accidental and caused by “careless cooking/grill”.  There were no smoke detectors installed in the house.

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Two men were injured in a manhole explosion in New York, on Saturday afternoon around 2:30 PM.  The men  were contractors for Con Edison.  They were  moving underground telephone lines at the intersection of second Avenue and E. 110 Street in Harlem when the explosion occurred. A Con Edison sign outside the manhole said “Repairing your electrical system”. The two workers suffered burns to their faces.  They were rushed to the hospital. One of them was in serious condition. The other one only suffered minor injuries. Witnesses said they heard a loud boom before seeing a lot of smoke coming out of the manhole.  The electricity went off in the neighborhood for 30 minutes after the accident. Read more in the New York Daily News

Manhole accidents are unfortunately all too common in New York City  in the summertime.  During particularly hot days in the city, the air conditioning usage leads to an increase in the consumption of electricity all over the city. Over heated electrical cables then become more susceptible to fail. Often the insulation that protects the cable breaks down. Insulation break down is one of the most common cable failures resulting in manhole explosions.

With 94,000 miles of cable, New York City has the largest underground electrical system in the world. Some of the cables are very old and were installed prior to 1930. These cables are suffering not only from corrosion caused by the salty water leaking down on them during the winter but also from rat bites and vibrations from traffic.  According to an article in NBC News manhole explosions are occurring in New York City more than in any other city of the US. A report from Con Edison  indicates that in 2014, 3,349 manhole events were recorded during the year. A manhole event is an accident classification that ranges from a few puffs of smoke from a short-circuit to the dangerous and frightening explosions that hurl metal discs weighing anywhere from 70 to 300 pounds toward the heavens. Read the complete article here