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

Published on:

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

Published on:

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.
Published on:

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.

Published on:

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 

Published on:

subway accident fire nycAnother subway accident occurred on Monday morning in New York. This time, 30 feet of train track trash caught fire in a tunnel between 145th street and 133rd street in Harlem. Hundreds of panicked passengers were stuck in trains as a smoky blaze developed in the tunnel. Thousands more passengers, most of them on their way to work, were stuck waiting in overcrowded sweltering subway stations.

The fire was reported this morning at 7:18 am by a subway conductor. Trains were stopped and an order was given to the subway conductor to stop the AC to prevent the smoke from being sucked into the cars by the AC system. The service was finally restored at 9:34 am. 9 passengers had to be transported to the hospital for minor injuries related to heat and smoke.

MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lotha apologized and said the he would increase the effort in Operation Track Sweep. This operation includes 500 employees who are supposed to maintain the tracks clear from garbage.

Published on:

9 people were injured, 2 houses destroyed and 4 damaged in the massive fire that erupted in the Bronx, NYC, last Thursday. FDNY investigators suspect that 3 men using illegal fireworks sparked the fire. The 3 young men told the police they bought the fireworks in Westchester. Sale and use of fireworks is illegal in the city. The 3 men who are all in their 20ies are facing charges for reckless endangerment of Bronx residents and 200 firefighters, fourth-degree arson criminal mischief and illegal possession of fireworks. The mother of one of the men denied that her son was responsible for the fire. She said her son had been playing with fireworks in the street before the fire but he had gone to work when the blaze erupted. She doesn’t believe the fireworks are at the origin of the blaze. (Read more in the NY Daily News)

Another fire erupted last night at the Glendale farmers market in Queens. 200 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze that engulfed 3 stores and two apartments. 11 firefighters were injured in the NYC blaze as well as one civilian. A lot of smoke came out of the fire and lingered in the street. The smoke was so thick that it was impossible to see across the street. People with asthma and other respiratory weaknesses started to panic. The buildings belonged to a mosque next door. The owners were inside celebrating the last night of Ramadan. They stopped the celebration and instead offered shelter in the mosque to those in need. See video below

Published on:

An 88-year-old woman died and her husband were critically injured in a fire that erupted in their apartment in Harlem.  Firefighters rushed to a fire alert at their apartment located at 70 LaSalle Street near Amsterdam Avenue in Morningside Heights, NYC. They found the couple inside and rushed them to the hospital. Unfortunately the wife didn’t survive. The husband is still in critical condition. The couple’s apartment was located at the 15th floor of the building. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Read more in the NY Daily News

In New York City, seniors have a higher risk of dying in home fires than the rest of the population. According to statistics from the New York City Fire Department , smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the homes of adults who are 65-years-old and older. Heating equipment is the second cause of  fatal fires at seniors apartments followed by cooking equipment and electrical.

Leading Causes of fire Death for elderly in NYC
Elderly people who are smoking have a much higher risk to be the victim of a residential fire than those who are not smoking. The FDNY recommends elderly people who are smoking:

Published on:

A woman died from burn injuries in her New York apartment. The 34-year-old woman was cooking in her kitchen yesterday afternoon around 3:00 pm when  her clothes caught fire.  According to the police she first ran around the apartment and then went to the bathroom where she died.  Her chest was covered with burns.  Cooking fires are unfortunately among the most common residential fires. The majority of kitchen fires occurred when the equipment is left unattended. It is not very common that person’s clothing catch fire while cooking. According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association in less than 1% of the cooking fires, clothing items were the ones ignited first. However these types of fires are some of the deadliest and account for 18% of  deaths related to kitchen fires.

Fire statistics from NFPA

 

Published on:

Tweet from the FDNY reporting the NYC fire accident5 young people died in a house fire in New York City Sunday afternoon.  2 year old Chayce Lipford, 10 year old Rashawn Matthews, 16 year old Jada Foxworth, 17 year old Melody Edwards and 20 year old Destiny Dones  all died in a fire that broke out in a house located on 208th Street in Queens village, Sunday afternoon around 2:30 pm.  911 received a call at 2:36 from someone who was driving in front of the house and saw flames coming out of the 1st floor window. The firefighters only took 4 minutes  to arrive but by that time the house was already completely consumed by fire. The only survivor is 46 year old Maurice Matthews, father of Rashawn Matthews. He jumped from a second floor window.  According to CBS New York, the victims may have been trapped in the attic of the house. The house had no working smoke detectors.  The investigation about the exact cause of the accident is still ongoing.

fdny education teamFollowing the tragic accident, the FDNY fire Safety Education Unit  founded by the FDNY Foundation and the New York Red cross set up a stand in Queens Village to teach community residents about the importance of having smoke detectors in their house. They also installed smoke detectors in houses that didn’t have any.

Published on:

firefighter who diedA FDNY firefighter fell to his death Thursday afternoon as he was fighting a fire in a NYC apartment. 42 year old, William Tolley was responding to a two-alarm apartment fire on the third floor of  a building located on Putnam Ave in Ridgewood, Queens.  The fatal accident happened when the fire was almost extinguished. Tolley had just finished executing a routine operation on the rooftop. He was about to get in the bucket at the end of a five story ladder when something went wrong and he fell to his death.

It is not clear so far if Tolley took a misstep or if  a mechanical issue with the ladder or the bucket caused the accident. The truck was kept on the street with the ladder extended for investigation purposes.

The FDNY said the fire was a minor blaze with very limited risk of injury or death and the accident was “bizarre”.