National Grid Contractors Caused Joralemon Explosions

Contractors hired by National Grid working to install gas service to the home at 25 Willow Place were the cause of the electrical explosions that rocked Brooklyn Heights yesterday afternoon, company officials told BHB today. This confirms our report of a neighbor’s claim at the scene yesterday.

While workers were digging to install gas service to the unoccupied building, they came in contact with an MTA New York City Transit electrical line, sparking electrical fires that caused several manholes in the area to blow sky high.

One house on Joralemon Street temporarily suffered loss of gas service, but the repairs were made last night.

Headline updated for clarification at 3:37pm 1/19/10

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  • Claude Scales

    Were the contractors hired by the owner of the property at 25 Willow Place, or by National Grid?

  • Thomas

    The contractors were hired by National Grid.

  • ABC

    Yeah, I think this headline is misleading again. I don’t know the poor souls who bought 25 Willow, but I appreciate them taking on this project. I don’t think the deserve blame here.

  • Homer Fink

    We’ve changed relevant headlines to reflect new information.

  • bornhere

    Isn’t this also the renovation that, for several months, plunged a portion of Willow Place into nighttime darkness because someone chose to glom electricity from the streetlight (thus rendering it useless) in front of 26 Willow Place to the house being renovated? Whose idea was that??

  • bklyn20

    National Grid is still responsible for not monitoring or training their contractors! And to spread the blame around just a bit, and as I posted earlier today, apparently the MTA does not mark their important electric lines. Maybe that would have helped the contractors to avoid the MTA electric cable.

    As a start, couldn’t the contractors have a map? Then we could avoid at least some of the non-Guder sidewalk grafitti.

    I’ve been noticing the defunct streetlight — never knew that was the explanation. I also recently noticed that there were lights on in the house on the upper floors. However, the crew working there must have had some power to run their equipment earlier on. I don’t know the answer to that one.

  • Teddy

    I was walking on State St, near Sidney Pl. when I heard the noise yesterday. I was going to my parking garage on Court St to drive to NJ. I thought a gas tanker exploded on the BQE or maybe “something” happened in Manhattan (it was similar to the sound I heard on 9/11). When I got to Columbia St before I entered the BQE, I looked for black smoke from Manhattan and was relieved to see a clear, blue sky.

    I’m glad to hear it wasn’t something more serious.

  • Eddy

    bklyn20, there are “maps” however, it is not that simple. one cannot simply look at a map or drawing and know exactly where an underground object is located, the problem is reference points (benchmarks)… in order to precisely locate , say a pipe, you must start measuring from a known benchmark, usually at intersections of streets. this job must be done by surveyors who then leave the painted designation lines on the street. Why this wasn’t done or ignored is probably the root of the problem, in this case…

  • nabeguy

    Eddy, if the maps already exist, they must have been created by surveyors,
    no? Isn’t the specific purpose of the maps to delineate where underground
    objects are so that a professional trained in reading them can determine
    exactly where to drop a drill? Something, whatever it is, got overlooked in
    this case.

  • Sid

    Con Ed and the Gas company are responsible for marking where the electrical lines are. The NYC Transit authority has been less than stellar in marking where their lines are and in fact sometimes doesn’t “know”. Normally before National Grid comes out and works someone comes and marks where the services are BUT with NYC transit that doesn’t always translate accurately.
    National Grid is responsible for its contractors. I will bet they require the contractor to be insured, but if the power line was unmarked there is going to be a lot of finger pointing.
    Most contractors come with their own power supply(compressor or generators)…

  • Eddy

    Nebeguy, Yes the maps are created by surveyors, my point is, they also have to be read by surveyors… The guy with the drill cannot simply look at a map and know exactly where a pipe is located… the position has to be determined by accurate measuring from benchmarks and reference points which may be hundreds of feet away… It is not as simple as using a tape measure, either. One has to take into account the grade of the street, as the distances on these maps are drawn from a level reference plane… especially in the case of Joralemon St which is at a steep grade. If one were to simply measure from a point say at the intersection of Hicks and Joralemon down to Joralemon and Willow, along the grade street, the measurement would be several feet off as the hypotenuse is longer than the baseline of the angle…