Police in New York arrested five people on Thursday and charged four of them with involuntary manslaughter in connection with a gas explosion that rocked the city's East Village neighborhood last March and killed two men.
The apartment building's owner, her son, a contractor and an unlicensed plumber have all been charged with involuntary manslaughter, among other charges, according to the New York Police Department. Another man was charged for allowing the plumber to use his master plumber license.
Investigators determined the gas explosion was caused by the defendants illegally tapping into gas lines in an adjacent building to circumvent inspection by ConEdison, the utility company. The explosion leveled three buildings, killing Moises Ismael Locon Yac and Nicholas Figueroa, and injuring dozens more.
"The seven-alarm fire that killed two people and engulfed three buildings in March 2015 was caused by a foreseeable, preventable and compltely avoidable gas explosion," said New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance. "Development, construction and renovation is happened across the city at breakneck speed. In this market, the temptation for property owners, contractors and managers to take dangerous -- and, in some instances, deadly -- shortcuts has never been greater.
"As alleged in the indictment, the defendants created a deadly inferno fueled by an illegal gas delivery system installed at 121 Second Ave., leading to the loss of two young lives and leaving more than a dozen others with serious, permanent injuries."
Maria and Michael Hrynenko, Athanasios Ioannidis, and Dilber Kukic have been charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and second-degree assault, according to the NYPD. Andrew Trombettas has been charged with offering a false instrument for filing.
The site of the explosion remains vacant, surrounded by chain-link fencing plastered with memorials of the two men who died.
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