Sidewalk Explosion Outside T-Mobile Store In St Albans, Queens Injured Barry West As He Was Going To Pay His Phone Bill
QUEENS, NEW YORK (August 11, 2021) – A pedestrian identified as Barry West was seriously injured after being involved in a sidewalk explosion outside of the T-Mobile store in St, Albans near the intersection of Farmers Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard.
New York City police officials are saying that the explosion took place on Thursday evening. Barry West was walking to T-Mobile when a Queens sidewalk exploded beneath him and engulfed the unsuspecting victim in a massive fireball.
A surveillance video of the explosion showed smoke pouring out from a grate immediately prior to the accident. Flames from the blast reached the second floor of the building.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the explosion in order to help Barry West. He was taken to the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York with second degree burns.
Con Edison has refused to comment thus far on what may have caused the explosion. NYPD investigators are working to determine the cause of the blast as well.
They have noted that these types of explosions may occur for a wide variety of reasons including poor infrastructure, rats and damage to electrical wiring. This isn’t the first explosion involving Con Edison in Queens. In 2018 an explosion at a Queens Con Ed plant briefly turned NYC’s skylight bright blue.
Barry West faces a lengthy recovery and has spent at least five days in the hospital. A full investigation into the cause of the explosion outside of the T-Mobile store in St. Albans, Queens remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Queens Sidewalk Explosions
Sidewalk explosions in New York City may seem like a freak occurrence. But they are unfortunately all too common. In fact the FDNY has logged nearly 4,000 manhole explosion dispatches between the years 2009 and 2018. Those explosions have resulted in at least 57 injuries and extensive property damage. These types of accidents occur primarily in winter. They also occur for a wide variety of different reasons including:
- Salt water running onto electrical cables. Salt water can degrade the cables over time and make electrical explosions more likely.
- Natural gas leaks near electrical wires. Natural gas can be highly flammable and easily ignite with a small ignition source.
- Rats and other animals that damage key infrastructure. Small animals can easily gnaw through wires which could serve as an ignition source for an explosion.
Many of the explosions in New York City have prompted lawsuits from injured parties. Depending on the specific facts of any incident there could be numerous sources of liability for a sidewalk explosion. For example, a property owner could be liable for an explosion if it was caused by a defect on their property. As outlined in Maheshwari v. City of New York, the property owners owe people on their property reasonable care to maintain their premises in a safe condition. The level of care that a property owner owes to an individual does depend in part on their status as either an:
In most situations property owners will have no duty of care to trespassers. Whether a property owner is liable for an accident will depend on how reasonably foreseeable the accident was. If a property owner was aware of a dangerous condition on their premises and they failed to take action that could potentially form the basis for a claim of negligence. In certain situations, if a company did not know but should have known about a dangerous condition on their property this could create the basis for negligence.
Companies like Con Edison have a responsibility to perform periodic inspections of the wiring beneath manhole covers. If they fail to perform these inspections and thus fail to discover problems with their wiring this could lead to an accident and may amount to negligence. This is why it can be so important to seek maintenance records following an accident. Getting surveillance footage of an accident and seeking eyewitness testimony can also be very important.
If a construction crew was working to repair a sidewalk and they failed to put up signs to divert cars or pedestrians away this could expose that company to liability. Construction companies are typically liable for the negligent actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. Victims of explosion accidents often suffer very serious and costly injuries including:
- Auditory Injuries
- Renal Injuries
- Brain Injuries
- First, Second and Third Degree Burns
- Psychological Trauma (e.g., PTSD)
It is extremely important to continue to seek follow up care after an explosion. Victims of blast injuries are protected by a number of laws. They have the ability to seek compensation through a bodily injury claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. In order to win a civil claim plaintiffs must first demonstrate negligence. After an accident it is important to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney. An attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Queens Sidewalk Explosion
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek extend our best wishes to Barry West as he continues to recover. Any person that may have relevant information about the Queens explosion should reach out to city officials. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened so that steps can be taken to prevent similar incidents.
As consumer safety advocates and personal injury attorneys it is our sincere hope that measures will be considered to curb the number of these incidents. Far too many people have been injured in these explosions which are very often totally preventable.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in sidewalk explosion, you may be entitled to compensation. To get the full money damages you deserve, you need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for you. For more information or to consult with our legal team, please call Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. at 646-828-1954.
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