The airwaves are abuzz with the news that yet another house has exploded in Horseheads, NY. Preliminary indications seem to point to a natural gas leak as the cause of the explosion. The house, located at 194 Joseph Street, is less than 1/2 mile from the former home of the Petersons, which was completely destroyed in an explosion caused by a natural gas leak in a NYSEG service pipe five years ago.
Preliminary reports indicate that two adults were able to escape the residence, but a 15 month old child was believed to be trapped inside. Unofficial reports indicate the fire was too intense for firemen to attempt to rescue the infant. The neighborhood has been evacuated.
WETM-TV is reporting that NYSEG is on the scene, along with law enforcement and fire personnel. There is no word whether investigators from the State’s fire investigation team or the Public Service Commission are on scene yet. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is a “watchdog” agency that is supposed to oversee the action of public utilities like NYSEG.
The attorneys at the Ziff Law Firm have been personally involved in the investigation of house explosion cases just like this one in the past, and it is imperative that this explosion be investigated promptly with involvement from someone other than NYSEG. You can be sure that NYSEG will have more than just local personnel on scene to get the gas shut off. In our personal experience NYSEG rushes an investigation team in from all over the state, who will attempt to conduct their own “investigation” before any representatives of the family can be involved. In our experience, the involvement of representatives of the family is necessary to make sure the investigation is a full, fair and unbiased investigation of what actually occurred. Key pieces of evidence can be missed or undocumented without a family representative and their own unbiased investigator on scene. Once the site is disturbed, key pieces of evidence often can never be recreated.
Our thoughts are with the family involved in this horrible tragedy.
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901