Investigators locate source of gas leak in fatal East Harlem explosion

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Death Toll Rises To 7 After East Harlem Building Explosion

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 13: NTSB member Robert Sumwalt speaks with members of the media near the site of an explosion and building collapse in East Harlem on March 13, 2014 in New York City. At least 7 people were killed, according to reports, in Wednesday’s explosion which collapsed two buildings on Park Avenue at 116th Street. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

EAST HARLEM (PIX11) – The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed Tuesday that investigators have pinned down the location of a gas leak at the site of the East Harlem explosion that killed eight people, injured at least 60 and leveled two Manhattan apartment buildings.

According to a press release:

“The 8-inch cast iron/plastic main on Park Avenue between 116th and 117th streets failed the pressure test at the normal operating pressure. Tracer gas pumped into the main and a leak survey identified a leak adjacent to 1646 Park Avenue, one of the collapsed buildings.

Two service line segments (one about 20-feet long, the other about 3-feet long) recovered in the basements of the destroyed buildings at 1646 and 1648 Park Avenue have been removed and tagged as NTSB evidence. Items will be shipped to the NTSB laboratory in Washington.

Death Toll Rises To 7 After East Harlem Building Explosion

Firefighters remove debris from the smoking site of an explosion in East Harlem on March 13, 2014 in New York City. At least 7 people were killed, according to reports, in Wednesday’s explosion which collapsed two buildings on Park Avenue at 116th Street. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Pressure testing of the service lines to buildings on Park Avenue adjacent to the destroyed buildings continues with no significant findings to date. ConEdison and the city are working to restore gas service to the adjacent buildings.”

Investigators will continue to excavate the area around the gas leak as the week continues, and will run a camera probe inside the water and sewer pipes along Park Avenue in the area of the explosion.