The gas main explosion that rocked a home on 48th Ave. and 41st. St. Wedneday––killing one woman and injuring six others––occurred despite what ConEd and FDNY say was them following proper procedures preceding the incident. Kunta Oza, who died at the age of 69, was burned over 90% of her body. In addition to the six others injured in the explosion, 200 people were evacuated from the block until it was deemed safe to return.
Both ConEd and the FDNY are now saying that they both followed proper procedures regarding the circumstances. The fire department was the first on the scene Wednesday, responding to a 911 call about the smell of gas in the neighborhood. A ConEd team showed a few minutes later. The fire department had already turned off the gas at Oza's building and opened the windows for ventilation after smelling a noxious order. They then checked other houses up and down the block, but didn't report anything unusual and ConEd said they could go. The chief spokesman for the FDNY explained that there's a formal transfer of authority and expertise when ConEd shows up, and it wouldn't make sense for fireman to stand around and watch ConEd workers do their jobs.
The Con Edison mechanic tested several manholes for the presence of gas, Ms. McCartney said, and the ones with high concentrations were aired out. One such manhole was in front of 48-19 41st Street, she said, but a car was parked over it. The mechanic then called the Police and Fire Departments back to help move the car.
One fire unit arrived shortly after 4:30 p.m., and more were on the way when the explosion rocked the basement of Ms. Oza’s house, the Fire Department said.
Both organizations said that they'd review their protocols for such situations and make adjustments if necessary, but stressed that they both acted properly.