CRAIN'S --Harlem tragedy sheds light on old infrastructure

The explosion that caused fatal buildings to collapse in East Harlem drew attention to the aging pipes beneath city streets and the role various agencies play in monitoring and fixing deteriorating conditions.

The Wednesday morning explosion that destroyed two East Harlem buildings, leaving seven people dead and five still missing, has cast a new light on the role that city agencies will play in protecting New Yorkers from decrepit infrastructure.

During an afternoon press conference Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and Con Edison CEO John McAvoy fielded questions about whether a 127-year-old gas line was a factor in the disaster. While Mr. de Blasio was cautious in his responses, reiterating that the investigation of the powerful blast was in its early stages and that it would be premature to identify a cause, it was clear from comments by all three men that a gas leak is likely responsible.

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