2007_11_qnsexplo.jpgYesterday afternoon, a gas explosion in a Sunnyside home burned a 67-year-old woman over 90% of her body. Six other people were also injured, as over 200 people needed to be evacuated and over a hundred firefighters responded.

Kunta Oza, who lives in a three-story at 41st Street and 48th Avenue, is at New York Hospital Burn Center in critical condition. WNBC reports that she "sent her grandchildren outside as a precaution. The move might have saved their lives." The leak came from a broken six-inch gas main. One resident said that the smell has been noticeable all week.

Someone had called the authorities about the smell of gas around 3PM, and the Fire Department and Con Ed both responded. According to a fire chief who spoke to the NY Times, Con Ed "said that they could handle the situation, so the firefighters left...But then the Con Ed crews had trouble gaining access to the basements of homes and asked the firefighters to return and help, which they did." Con Ed said that the utility ask the FDNY to come back, but the issue was more about accessing manholes under parked cars.

City Councilman Eric Gioia questions the handling of the gas leak investigation. "Why did it take so long to identify the source of the leak? And why wasn't this block evacuated before the explosion, if that smell was so bad you actually pick up the phone to call the fire department?" Giois also said that he had arranged for Thanksgiving meals for the families who now cannot make their own, because of the blast.