MANHATTAN (PIX11) — As the daunting task of removing tons of charred debris at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th Street continues, so does the quest to identify concrete answers as to what took place inside of 121 2nd Avenue.
Monday morning, PIX11 News was at the address associated with the contractor who was injured in the explosion, Dilber Kukic. A voice from inside the address connected to the contractor did not want to respond to any inquiries, simply stating, “No comment thank you.”
It was just last month that the Manhattan County District Attorney’s office arrested Kukic for his roles in a city-wide bribery scandal involving inspectors.
It should also be noted that Kukic’s firm has done previous work at 121 2nd Avenue.
Ben Rubinowitz is an Adjunct professor at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law says that one party absorbing all of the blame in an accident is uncommon. “It’s a rare thing to have one party to blame. Usually there is shared fault in these case.”
Rubinowitz is also an established wrongful death attorney who has worked cases where a gas leak explosion resulted in death.
Now while he admits these cases are not cut and dry adding that the investigation into the the blast may take several months if not over a year, “They are complex because you have to find out what caused the gas leak in the first place and number two, you’ve got to find out who else may have been responsible.
Usually, it’s just not the fact that the gas leak was caused. The question is was there an omission, was there something that somebody failed to do that should have been done timely?
While it is important to reinforce that the investigation is in its preliminary stages, Rubinowitz does take issue with one key aspect of the blast that killed two and left dozens of others homeless or without a business, “The gas should have been shut down to the entire building no matter what until this was rectified. In other words the failure to make sure that everyone was protected is where the fault lies.”
As for the potential of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office filing charges once their investigation is complete?
Rubinowitz offered up the following, “The conduct might be criminal to the extent that there was recklessness that took place on the part of anyone rising to the level of a crime.”