Building owner, contractor and plumber found guilty in East Village explosion case

The gas explosion on Second Avenue near East 7th Street occurred in March 2015. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced last Friday that all of the defendants on trial for the gas explosion that occurred on Second Avenue at East 7th Street in 2015 have been found guilty.

Vance said that Maria Hrynenko, 59, Athanasios “Jerry” Ioannidis, 63, and Dilber Kukic, 44, were found guilty for their role in the fatal explosion at 121 Second Avenue on March 26 of that year that killed 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa and 27-year-old Moises Locon, seriously injured 13 other victims and caused three buildings at the corner to completely collapse.

“This is a big win for public safety in New York,” Vance said. “As construction and development continue to boom, today’s guilty verdict puts property owners, contractors, and managers on notice: my office will pursue criminal charges against those who place expediency and financial gain over life and limb.”

The explosion was caused by plumbing and gas work that was going on inside 121 Second Avenue, which was one of the three buildings to collapse. Con Edison said at the time that the building had failed an inspection earlier on the same day as the explosion.

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Opinion: An election and a warning for 2020

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, the American Democracy was founded with the approval of our Constitution. In the centuries that have passed, it is easy for some to forget how inspired and revolutionary that document was. Sadly, others choose to ignore it.

For the first time, a nation was to be a Republic, governed not by a monarchy or other form of dictatorship or autocracy, but rather by the will of its citizens with important checks and balances among three co-equal branches of government.

That was the enduring genius of our founders. Every president of the United States takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” rather than to preserve his own power.

Like me, you may be wondering whatever happened to those principles and that oath that guided this nation and its presidents for over two centuries.

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