In a preliminary report released today on the East Harlem explosion that killed eight people, the National Transportation Safety Board said it found “small gas leaks below the pavement” in a cast-iron gas main installed in 1887. Previously, the agency said it found a single leak in a gas main next to one of the two collapsed buildings. The on-site investigation has now concluded, and sections of the iron main, a plastic main installed in 2011, and a cracked water main that may have contributed to the gas leak will be examined in the NTSB’s Washington, D.C. laboratory. The agency will also look at leak surveys and maintenance records, and spokesman Eric Weiss said they expect to “come to a probable cause and perhaps some recommendations” in several months.
“We have 90 percent of the bill agreed to and written. We just have some of the last decisions to be made.”