Following the deadly explosion that destroyed two apartment buildings in East Harlem, Con Edison, the gas company responsible for the natural gas pipeline that runs near the apartments, has begun compensating victims who were injured or lost their homes in the blast.
The payments were made following private interviews with each of the victims, Con Edison spokesman Robert McGee told The Wall Street Journal. McGee said that the company began making payments to the victims the day after the blast.
"We've been working with the city, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross, and we've been meeting with those affected one-on-one to help them and their families with expenses, while also respecting their privacy," McGee said.
Though no conclusive cause of the explosion has been determined, investigators found a leak in a gas line located near one of the apartment buildings, The Associated Press reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board is examining soil taken from the site to test for high levels of natural gas, according to the Journal.
Douglas H. Wigdor with Wigdor LLP, a law firm that has dealt with cases involving Con Edison in the past, said the decision to pay victims so quickly after the incident was rather unusual.
"It's certainly not standard practice, especially at this stage of the game," Wigdor told the Journal. He said that Con Edison’s approach was most likely strategized to protect the company from possible lawsuits from victims down the road.
Eight people were killed and more than 60 people were injured in the explosion, NBC New York reported.
A wake for 22-year-old Alexis Salas is being held Thursday in honor of the restaurant worker and future dad, who was killed in the explosion, CBS New York reported.