Photograph of the red tow truck by sidewalk_story on Flickr

A year ago today, a 24" steam pipe installed in 1924 broke and caused a massive explosion on Lexington Avenue and East 41st Street. Right after the blast, the Mayor called it a "failure of infrastructure."

A woman died from a heart attack, while two people sitting in a truck right on top of the explosion were seriously burned: Passenger Judith Bailey suffered third-degree burns over 30% of her body while tow truck driver Gregory McCullough suffered burns over 80% of his body--the heat from the steam is believed to have been around 400 degrees. McCullough recently spoke to the Daily News. Last year, he had been taking classes at John Jay College, studying karate, and considered going into law enforcement. These days, he is trying to remain optimistic about his recovery:

"I don't know if I'll ever be the same, but that's what I pray for every day - to get back to where I was, or maybe better...

"It has changed me," he said. "I don't think I'm as happy as I was. You just sit there and say, ‘Why did this happen to me?' This could have been prevented. But because of someone's negligence, it didn't happen...

"It takes a lot of energy to be miserable. I try to be as positive as I can," McCullough said. "I don't want to look back at life and say, ‘I wanted to do it but I couldn't.' I still want to become a police officer. I still want to join the Marines. I want to travel the world.

"There's just a whole bunch of things I still want to do."

McCullough and Bailey are among the many suing Con Edison over failure to maintain the steam pipe. The utility, in turn, is suing the city, claiming a city-hired contractor was responsible for putting an epoxy--that apparently caused the whole explosion--on the pipe.