Firefighters remove debris from the smoking site of an explosion in East Harlem on March 13, 2014. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Con Edison has agreed to pay $153 million to settle charges over a 2014 gas explosion in East Harlem that killed eight people and injured about 50.
The settlement was approved on Thursday by the state’s Public Service Commission. The commission had found that Con Ed violated state safety regulations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was the highest payment for a gas safety incident in New York State history.
The settlement includes a $25 million fund to benefit Con Ed gas customers. The rest will go toward gas safety education, repairs of leak-prone gas pipes, and explosion-related costs incurred by residents and businesses. \
The sudden explosion rocked the neighborhood on March 12, 2014 about 15 minutes after someone reported smelling gas in a nearby building, authorities said.
In 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the explosion was likely caused by a faulty connection between two Con Ed gas pipes and a hole in a nearby sewer line that had gone eight years without repair.
Con Ed spokesman Philip O’Brien said the utility has “launched or expanded many proactive safety measures” since the explosion.
Con Ed never admitted any wrongdoing.