Around 250 firefighters responded last Thursday after a gas main leak caused an explosion that demolished three buildings in Manhattan’s East Village. 22 people were injured, four critically, and two people are thought to still be missing.
The explosion comes only a year after two buildings in Harlem collapsed after a gas leak last March, which killed eight and injured many more. The buildings were served by a 127-year-old gas main. Following the incident in 2014, industry experts warned that utilities in many parts of the U.S. were struggling to maintain or replace antiquated and leaky gas mains in older urban areas. Mains composed of cast iron or steel are the most vulnerable.