NYC explosion victim is officially identified

After two bodies were pulled from the rubble of a Manhattan apartment building collapse, authorities shifted their focus to what caused the massive explosion and fire and the possibility that someone may have improperly tapped a gas line serving one of the buildings.

AFP| Updated: Mar 31, 2015, 02:40 AM IST

New York: After two bodies were pulled from the rubble of a Manhattan apartment building collapse, authorities shifted their focus to what caused the massive explosion and fire and the possibility that someone may have improperly tapped a gas line serving one of the buildings.

About half of site had been cleared by midday today, but investigators had not yet reached the cellar level where the explosion took place on Thursday.

"When we reach the level of the gas piping, the way the debris is removed will change so that those who will investigate the mechanics of what happened will have access to that without it being torn apart," said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

The mayor's office said that one victim has been officially identified as 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa. The bowling alley worker was on a date at a restaurant when the explosion and fire leveled three buildings.

DNA testing will be done to identify the second body that was recovered yesterday.

Restaurant worker Moises Locon was reported missing after the blast. Police listed his last name as Lucon in a missing-person report, but the Guatemalan consul said it is spelled Locon.

In August, utility workers had discovered that the gas line to the restaurant had been illegally tapped, according to Consolidated Edison. The discovery led Con Edison to shut down gas service to the building for about 10 days while the building owner made repairs. Gas service was restored after the utility deemed it safe, the utility said.