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Tests detected gas underground after NYC blast

Published: Friday, March 14, 2014 5:14 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 14, 2014 5:17 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Firefighters look over the site of a building explosion in New York, Friday, March 14, 2014. Using sound devices to probe for voices and telescopic cameras to peer into small spaces, workers searching a pile of rubble from a gas explosion in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, continued to treat it as a rescue operation, holding onto the possibility of finding survivors from a blast that brought down two apartment buildings and killed at least eight people.

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal investigators say underground tests conducted in the hours after a deadly New York City gas explosion detected the presence of natural gas.

NTSB team member Robert Sumwalt says the latest information seems to support the hypothesis that the explosion, which killed eight people, was caused by a gas leak.

Sumwalt said Friday that the utility Consolidated Edison dug 50 holes about 18 to 24 inches deep around the blast site and measured gas levels in those cavities soon after the explosion.

He says the gas concentration was up to 20 percent in at least five spots. He says normal levels in New York City soil should be zero.

He says workers have begun the process of pressure testing pipes to identify possible holes.

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