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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-15-036
Details
Synopsis: On March 12, 2014, about 9:30 a.m. eastern daylight time, two adjacent multiuse five-story buildings were destroyed by a natural gas-fueled explosion and resulting fire. The buildings were situated on the west side of Park Avenue between East 116th Street and East117th Street in the East Harlem district of the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. The violent explosion damaged buildings on the east and west sides of Park Avenue and along East116th and East 117th Streets. The Metro-North Railroad suspended rail service for about 71/2 hours on the elevated railway along Park Avenue because of debris from the explosion on the track. Eight people died, more than 50 people were injured, and more than 100 families were displaced from their homes as a result of this accident. The cost to Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (ConEdison), of equipment damages, emergency response activities, remediation, and replacement exceeded $1.9 million.
Recommendation: TO CONSOLIDATED EDISON COMPANY OF NEW YORK, INC.: Provide clear written guidance to the Gas Emergency Response Center staff on the conditions for promptly notifying the New York City Fire Department and provide additional staff training.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Pipeline
Location: Manhattan, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA14MP002
Accident Reports: ​Gas explosion and subsequent fireNatural Gas-Fueled Building Explosion and Resulting Fire
Report #: PAR-15-01
Accident Date: 3/12/2014
Issue Date: 6/29/2015
Date Closed: 3/11/2016
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Consolidated Edison (Con Ed)
Date: 3/11/2016
Response: We are pleased to learn that, in addition to including in revised specification G-11876-1, Dispatching Gas Emergency Work and Non-Emergency Work by the Gas Emergency Response Center [GERC], the criteria requiring the prompt dispatch of the fire department for gas emergencies reported to your GERC, you updated training materials and protocols for current staff to include the new criteria and to instruct trainees in assigning and dispatching emergency and non emergency work. We are also pleased that you created an on-the-job training program for all incumbent and new employees, and that, as of December 31, 2015, all employees involved in GERC operations have completed the training. These actions fully address Safety Recommendation P-15-36, which is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Consolidated Edison (Con Ed)
To: NTSB
Date: 1/19/2016
Response: -From Craig S. Ivey, President, Con Edison: Con Edison has made a great deal of progress in training our dispatcher and supervisory staffs in the Company's Gas Emergency Response Center (GERC). In addition to our September 25, 2015 response to Recommendation P-15-36, Con Edison's written training materials relating to GERC operations have been updated to reflect the revised procedures outlined in Specification G-11876-1 (" Dispatching Gas Emergency Work and Non-Emergency Work by the Gas Emergency Response Center," which is used in the GERC by the dispatchers and supervisors "to provide instructions for assigning and dispatching emergency and non-emergency work ... . ") The Company also created an "on-the-job" training program that will be used as a learning tool for all incumbent and new employees in implementing the revised GERC procedures. All current employees involved in GERC operations completed the new on-the-job training by December 31, 2015. In addition, the training requirements for the updated procedures have been incorporated into the new dispatcher training protocols and all new employees will receive the new training during their formal dispatcher training. We appreciate your continued support of our efforts to implement the NTSB's Safety Recommendations. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions regarding the status of the Company's gas emergency response training efforts.

From: NTSB
To: Consolidated Edison (Con Ed)
Date: 12/21/2015
Response: We understand that you have revised specification G-11876-1 to identify the criteria requiring the prompt dispatch of the fire department for gas emergencies reported to your gas emergency response center. Conditions meeting your code Multiple Resource Response Event (MuRRE) establish triggers requiring the prompt dispatch of the fire department. Certain significant conditions that do not meet the criteria of a code MuRRE trigger also require the prompt dispatch of the fire department. These significant conditions include a report of both an inside and outside gas odor at the same location reported by a single caller, a report of a broken pipe or hissing sound, rapid movement on a gas meter, an appliance that will not turn off, a customer reporting a gas odor that is unable to evacuate the location, and other unusual conditions that do not meet a code MuRRE trigger. However, you did not explain whether you are providing, or plan to provide, the additional staff training that we recommended. Accordingly, pending our receipt of information regarding this additional training, Safety Recommendation P-15-36 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Consolidated Edison (Con Ed)
To: NTSB
Date: 9/25/2015
Response: -From Craig S. Ivey, President: Specification G-11876-0 "Dispatching Gas Emergency Work and Non-Emergency Work by the Gas Emergency Response Center" is used in the Gas Emergency Response Center (GERC) by the dispatchers and supervisors "to provide instructions for the assigning and dispatching of emergency and non-emergency work ... " We revised this specification (G-11876-1) to identify the criteria requiring the prompt dispatch of the fire department for gas emergencies reported to the GERC. Conditions meeting Con Edison's Code MuRRE2 established triggers shall require the prompt dispatch of the fire department. Certain significant conditions which do not meet the criteria of a Code MuRRE trigger shall also require the prompt dispatch of the fire department. These significant conditions include a report of an inside gas odor and an outside gas odor at the same location reported by a single caller, a report of a broken pipe or hissing sound, rapid movement on a gas meter, an appliance that will not turn off, a customer reporting a gas odor that is unable to evacuate the location as well as other unusual conditions which do not meet a Code MuRRE trigger. A copy of revised specification G-11876-1, along with specifications G-11837 -26 and G-11809-29 are provided as Appendix A.