FDNY: Rapid Repairs not behind Howard Beach house blast

| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen
THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

An explosion at a Howard Beach home on May 29 was not the result of any work done by the city's Rapid Repairs program, according to the Fire Department.

A gas explosion that destroyed a Howard Beach house last week was not caused by fixes from the city’s post-Sandy repair service, an FDNY spokesperson said.

The May 29 blast sent resident Theresa Pepitone to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center with severe burns. Witnesses said the burns took skin off of her face and scalp.

Firefighters responded to the blast shortly after 2 p.m. and had to battle with flames caused by the gas. The home partially collapsed in the process, according to Deputy Fire Chief Robert Maynes.

Maynes said National Grid workers were able to stop gas flow to the home, which helped efforts to extinguish the fire.

No one else was injured in the blast, but a pet German shepherd inside suffered minor injuries, Maynes added.

Fire marshals are still investigating what exactly caused the gas line to go.

Department of Buildings (DOB) has listed the home as unlivable. The center of the home was destroyed by the time the fire was extinguished.

A gas furnace and a water heater had been replaced in the house through Rapid Repairs, according to a permit filed with DOB. It was approved less than a week earlier, on May 23.