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Aging Utility Lines Linked to NYC Apartment Building Fires

An unexpected explosion rocked New York’s East Village Thursday afternoon, sparking a 5 alarm blaze. According to reports, a total of 19 individuals were injured, including five emergency responders, and at least two others remain missing. Luckily, reports indicate that none of the injuries thus far have been life threatening. The blaze reportedly started after an explosion occurred which officials believe was the result of work being preformed on gas line inside a NYC apartment building. The fire quickly spread to three neighboring apartment buildings causing the further evacuation of other buildings in the surrounding area. In total, 11 buildings were evacuated, 3 structures collapsed and a fourth suffered significant damages. Recent events occurred just over a year after a similar explosion and fire broke out in East Harlem, killing 8 individuals. The recent catastrophes have raises serious concerns about the safety and security of New York City’s utilities and infrastructure. In 2014, the NYC Center for an Urban Future released a report detailing the state of New York City’s aging infrastructure. According to the report, both of New York City’s major utility providers are using outdated and aging lines that are upwards of 50 and 60 years old. By the numbers, sixty percent of Consolidated Edison’s gas mains and 48 percent of National Grid’s lines are reportedly made of leak-prone materials, totaling some 3,321 miles of potentially leaky gas lines running throughout the city. Gas lines and pipes made of unprotected steel or cast iron are still widely prevalent in older cities such as NYC, and are cause large scale catastrophes, property damage and even loss of lives. Consolidated Edison reportedly aims to replace approximately 30 miles of their outdated pipes each year, however these adjustments are expensive, costing between $2.2 and $8 million per mile, and time consuming. For NYC commercial and residential real estate owners, utility infrastructure and failure has become a serious property loss and liability concern. The threat of a gas line exploding without warning, a water main leaking and causing flooding, or electrical wiring malfunctions resulting in fire are very real. As such, it is vital that NYC commercial property owners secure complete property and liability insurance to protect their assets. At A.J. Benet Insurance, we offer property and liability coverages along with workers compensation and management liability insurance for your business operations. Our…
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