Borough Park

Confirmed: 2nd body found in Borough Park rubble

BP Adams calls for new safety measures

October 5, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The investigation is ongoing into the cause of the tragic house explosion and fire that killed at least one woman and injured roughly a dozen in Borough Park. AP photo/ Mary Altaffer
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Officials said on Monday that the investigation is ongoing into the cause of the tragic house explosion and fire that killed two woman and injured roughly a dozen in Borough Park.

A FDNY spokesperson confirmed to the Brooklyn Eagle late Monday that a second body had been found in the rubble. ABC Eyewitness News first broke that news.

That body has not been identified, but is expected to be tenant Francisca Figueroa, 48, who has been missing since the blast.

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Her sister told the Daily News that Figueroa was on the second floor cleaning out her apartment because her landlord pressured her to move, although it wasn’t clear why.

“They wanted her to get out,” she told the News.

The city said that the body is now in the custody of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The early afternoon explosion blew off the front of the building. Eleven firefighting units with 50 firefighters rushed to the scene, along with dozens of police, including canine units involved in the search for the missing woman.

On Monday, FDNY, NYPD and other city agencies continued to carefully demolish and search the three-story house at 4206 13th Ave. According to the Mayor’s Office, NYC Housing and Preservation Development is using a grappler to remove debris, which is being placed on the sidewalk where FDNY and NYPD search and sift for evidence.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams spoke to reporters at the scene on Saturday. The blast may be related to the removal of a stove from a gas line by a second-floor tenant, Nigro said.

Earlier, according to the NYPD, a woman was discovered in a stairwell unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead by EMS at the scene.

Reports identified her as Ligia Puello, a native of the Dominican Republic. She lived in a third-floor apartment with her daughter, who was away at the time, according to AP.

Three people were discovered outside of the building suffering from various injuries, cops said. A 34-year-old man with a fractured leg and ankle as well as a nine-year-old boy, who also sustained a leg injury, were transported to New York Methodist Hospital by EMS.  A 27-year-old man was also taken to Methodist Hospital with minor injuries to his legs. Other victims sustained minor injuries.

The day after the explosion, Adams proposed new gas safety measures.

Adams said in a statement that he is working with Councilmember Jumaane Williams on a legislative proposal, submitted to the City Council on his request, which would require licensure or certification in order to disconnect, replace, or modify gas line connections between the source and a home appliance.

City Councilmember Brad Lander was on the scene over the weekend, helping to coordinate the provision of emergency food and toiletries to affected families.

Forty-nine residents were displaced, according to the Mayor’s Office. The city’s Department of Buildings issued vacate orders to five buildings: 4202, 4204, 4206, 4208, and 4210 13th Ave. for a total of 18 units vacated (12 residential, six commercial).

NYC Emergency Management and American Red Cross opened a resident service center at P.S. 164 (at 4211 14th Ave.) to provide residents with necessary services and answer any questions they may have regarding the explosion. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Housing and Preservation Department, Small Business Services and Community Affairs Unit were also on site. The Department of Environmental Conservation was set to begin air sampling.

Lander said via social media that the Resident Support Center for the collapse would be open on Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Borough Park Library, at 1265 43rd St.

The city has closed 13th Avenue between 40th and 53rd streets to pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It has also closed 13th Avenue between 42nd and 44th streets to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

This incident may be the fourth related to gas in recent months across New York City, including explosions at residential buildings in East Harlem and the East Village as well as John F. Kennedy High School in Marble Hill.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the state’s Department of Public Service, which regulates utility companies, to launch an investigation into “the latest in a disturbing trend of incidents,” according to AP. The National Grid utility said it was assisting in the investigation.


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