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City refutes its role in deadly East Village explosion

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The response stems from a lawsuit filed against the city by tenants who lost their homes

In June this year, The Sopranos star Drea de Matteo and 35 of her neighbors sued the city over the deadly 2015 East Village gas explosion that killed two people and leveled three buildings. The city however is having none of it. Lawyers for the city claimed immunity from the charges and thrust the responsibility on the other parties involved, the New York Post reports.

"Whatever damages and/or injuries plaintiffs may have sustained were caused in whole or in part by [others’] culpable conduct," a response by the lawyers to the Manhattan Supreme Court read.

De Matteo and the other tenants claimed in their suit that the city had failed to test the gas lines properly and that they were using an "antiquated system," to carry out inspections. De Matteo and her family had lived in the building at 123 Second Avenue for 22 years before it was destroyed. That building was also home to the popular fries location, Pommes Frites. The owner of the site listed it for $9.7 million in March this year, and it sold for $6 million last month.

The explosion led to manslaughter charges for the owners of the building where it occurred (121 Second Avenue), and three others were indicted in connection to explosion as well. The suit leveled by de Matteo and her neighbors is just one of several in relation to the explosion.

The city has however chosen to pin the blame on Con Edison, and the building managers. Lawyers representing the aggrieved tenants in this case issued the following statement to the Court after the city’s response, as per the Post:

"We believe that the city’s failures were not of the nature of misjudgment in discretionary acts but rather a fundamental failure to carry out ministerial acts and essential functions."