Hundreds of victims are still recovering from an East Harlem explosion that demolished two buildings and killed eight people in March. From surgeries to counseling for post traumatic stress, the lives of displaced residents and first responders have been forever altered as they struggle to heal from the tragic events that unfolded during the March 12 explosion at 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue. New York City personal injury law firm, Ronemus and Vilensky, will be representing roughly ten people in an effort to assist them with that recovery, a subset of 205 notifications received by the city Comptroller’s Office indicating that people intend to sue the city for a range of reasons including property damage to wrongful death.
In addition to the City of Harlem, the law firm intends to sue Con Edison for failing to maintain their 100-year-old gas lines and the property owner for negligence in maintaining the building. During an interview with Ginny Kosola of CBS News, New York, Attorney Robert Vilensky had this to say about the maintenance of the gas lines: “They should have inspected the pipes long ago. They should have replaced the pipes long ago, which they didn’t do.”
Gustavo Solis of “DNAinfo” reports that victims of the 9:30am explosion experienced distressing events including delayed ambulances that were en route to the hospital, people being crushed and trapped in cars, and temporary blindness amidst the chaos. Experiencing and witnessing these events have caused a lasting emotional trauma for many individuals, but have also thrown lives into a tailspin as some cope with the loss of loved ones.
Vilensky’s clients, in particular, face problems ranging from hearing loss to torn ligaments to anxiety disorders. “Many of my clients have post traumatic stress and they just keep on experiencing flashbacks and depression,” says Vilensky. “They are scared.”
While no amount of money can rectify the loss of a loved one, or erase the memories of what a victim has to relive daily when dealing with post traumatic stress, it’s important to hold accountable the individuals and organizations we’ve put our trust in concerning the maintenance of our homes. Our homes are our havens, places where we need to feel safe. When the victims of such a massive tragedy have that sense of safety taken from them, we owe it to them to give them the resources they need to seek treatment, medical or psychological, and to provide them with the tools they need to build new lives.