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East Village Explosion Injures 25, Kills Two

fire-truck-small-newLast Thursday a suspected gas-related explosion set Manhattan’s East Village ablaze as three buildings along Second Avenue were engulfed in flames. The massive seven-alarm fire drew more than 250 firefighters from across New York City as they desperately attempted to control the spreading flames. At least 25 people were injured in the blaze and authorities have since recovered two bodies from the rubble.

Eye witnesses detailed a frantic scene, marked by several heroic rescue attempts as well as some residents seen leaping from fire escapes as smoke billowed around them. Emergency workers continued the grim task of sifting through debris into the weekend, and discovered two bodies on Sunday. The relatives of 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa confirmed his body was one of two retrieved from the wreckage.  Figueroa had been eating lunch at a sushi restaurant on Second Avenue when the explosion occurred.

East Village explosion injures dozens

The grieving family, who say Figueroa’s body was not burned and found completely intact, are making funeral arrangements for their son and the eldest of four brothers.  Though the second body has yet to be identified, 25-year-old Moises Lucon, who worked at the same sushi restaurant, has been missing since the Thursday explosion. Lucon worked as a bus boy and was saving money for his family back in Guatemala. “I saw that young man every day,” Michael Schumacher told the NY Daily News. “Every single day we had a chat — you know, ‘How’s business?’ The kid worked hard for his family. He’s gone. He’s gone.”

As of early Sunday morning, firefighters and rescue worker had removed about one-third of the wreckage and associated debris, which was carefully examined before being taken away. Immediately following the blast more than 140 apartments were given official vacate orders due to safety concerns, affecting dozens of households. Nearly 60 affected residents found temporary shelter set up by The Red Cross at 121 East Third Street.

Investigators say the blast and resulting fire reduced the buildings 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue to nothing but rubble, and badly damaged four others in the vicinity.

Inappropriate gas line tampering suspected

Workers from Consolidated Edison were on the scene roughly an hour before the explosion and found sub-par renovation work being done, says Mayor de Blasio. Authorities are also investigating whether a gas line was improperly accessed at the building where the suspected gas-leak and explosion occurred.

“There may have been inappropriate tampering with the gas line. We believe it’s specific to this building, not a trend,” said Mayor de Blasio.

In the wake of the East Village blast, The Sanders Firm offers their condolences to all those affected and hopes that the city Department of Investigation quickly determines the cause of the explosion.

NYC personal injury lawyers

In the confusing and exhausting aftermath of such a catastrophe, it’s important that victims and their loved ones protect their legal rights. An experienced advocate will know which experts to consult, and how to prove liability in the event that negligence was a contributing factor.

The Sanders Firm brings more than 45 years of litigation experience to the table and is renowned for our personalized attention, aggressive tactics and long record of substantial verdicts and settlements. A consultation with a NYC personal injury lawyer at our firm is free and without obligation. To learn more or to schedule a case review today, call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY.


  1. New York Times, East Village Explosion Ignites Fire, Fells Buildings and Injures at Least 19 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/nyregion/reports-of-explosion-in-east-village.html?_r=1

  2. NY Daily News, Nicholas Figueroa identified as one of two bodies pulled from site of East Village explosion http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/unidentified-body-pulled-site-east-village-explosion-article-1.2166231

  3. CNN, Bodies found in rubble of New York building explosion http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/29/us/new-york-explosion/