Company uses image of deadly East Harlem gas explosion to sell insurance

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EAST HARLEM (PIX11) – Just blocks away from the March explosion that killed eight people, an insurance agency posted a sign with a picture from the site and a caption that reads, “Get insurance, before this happens to you.”

Those who notice the sign, such as Paula Gomez, were horrified.

“I know some people who live around that area so they were affected – they went to my church – and that is wrong,” Gomez said. “Wow.”

The company behind the signs, and flyers with before-and-after pictures of the buildings that collapsed is called the Goodrich Insurance Brokerage. Its owner is named Franklin Goodridge who told PIX 11’s Sonia Moghe that he has had the sign up for several weeks. He said he didn’t think it was offensive and simply wanted to make people aware that renter’s insurance can be helpful in that kind of similar situation.


An insurance broker used images of a deadly East Harlem gas explosion in ads that have since been taken down.

“My heart goes out to all of those folks who lost people,” Goodridge said. “If the sign in any way offends someone, tell me about it, I can change it. The sign is just a sign.”

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – whose office is mere feet away from the explosion site – called the Goodrich Insurance Brokerage signs “despicable” Friday.

“I mean, these are low life strategies and tactics being used to take advantage of an unfortunate tragedy,” Mark Viverito said. “To strike fear for totally monetary gain.”

insurance flier

(Photo/Sonia Moghe)

But Goodridge said he isn’t striking it rich. He said that even though people have been signing up for renter’s insurance with him after seeing his flyers, his policies only charge between $8-12 a month.

Passerby Sovreign Hughes said he felt the signs did what they were supposed to do – remind people to make sure they are covered.

“I think it’s a very wise business move for a business to use this image,” Hughes said.

Goodridge removed the signs Friday afternoon.

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