Family of Woman Killed in Harlem Gas Explosion Sues NYC for $40 Million

The family of Griselde Camacho, a 45-year-old woman killed in a gas explosion in March 2014, recently filed a $40 million lawsuit against New York City. The suit claims that the city was negligent by not maintaining a major gas line that may have caused the deadly explosion. The lawsuit states that numerous residents called the city over a period of several weeks to complain about the smell of gas in the affected area. In addition to naming the city as a defendant, the suit is also seeking damages from Con Edison and the landlord of the two buildings involved in the explosion.

explosion.jpgOn March 12, 2014, two five-story building in Harlem were destroyed by an explosion and subsequent fire. The buildings were used primarily for apartments. Eight people were killed by the blast, and nearly 60 people were injured, including Carmine Quinones, Camacho’s mother. Quinones, who suffered from serious injuries as the result of the blast, underwent extensive surgery to repair a broken arm which is now held together by steel pins. In addition, doctors had to put metal staples in Quinones’ head as a result of head trauma she suffered as a result of the blast. Quinones is also named in the lawsuit filed on her daughter’s behalf. The lawsuit is the first one of many that are expected to be brought against the city.

A preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a federal agency responsible for investigating major pipeline accidents, documents that an 8-inch cast iron gas main had small gas leaks in several areas. Portions of the pipe were removed and sent to Washington, D.C. for further analysis. The NTSB also sent portions of an 8-inch plastic pipe to a lab for further testing and examination. NTSB investigators spent several days at the site of the explosion to gather evidence to determine the cause of the fatal blast.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), blast-related injuries are usually caused by blunt trauma and penetrating wounds. A pamphlet titled “Blast Injuries: Essential Facts,” points out that there are four basic types of injuries associated with explosions. The first type of injuries are caused by the initial blast wave that quickly changes the surrounding air pressure. For instance, people often suffer from damaged ear drums and injuries to their lungs. The second type of injuries are caused by projectiles, such as bomb fragments or flying debris. Such projectiles can cause blunt trauma and multiple penetrating injuries. The third type of injuries are caused when a person is knocked over or thrown by an explosive blast. Examples of such injuries are broken bones, fractures and amputated limbs. People may also suffer from head injuries, such as concussions, as the result of an explosion. In addition, people may also suffer from burns and asphyxia (lack of oxygen). Eye injuries are also common injuries associated with explosions.

Find out more about the lawsuit filed by Griselde Camacho’s family in the NY Daily News.

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