Justice Served for January Gas Blast in West Haverstraw

On Friday, May 18, Fidel Padilla of Cortlandt pled guilty to putting lives at risk when his company did excavation work and caused a massive explosion that destroyed a West Haverstraw townhouse in January. In addition to the demolition of the house, two West Haverstraw volunteer firefighters and two workers from Orange and Rockland Utilities were injured.

Verizon’s subcontractor, MasTec of Coral Gables, hired Padilla to install a two-inch conduit for fiber optic cable at the West Haverstraw housing complex.

“This incident is particularly disturbing because it could have been prevented,” said Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. “By violating applicable regulations and industry standards, these defendants nearly caused the deaths of four people and left several families homeless. Their careless and short-sighted decisions had the potential to cause serious loss of life.”

Padilla pled guilty to a felony charge of first-degree reckless endangerment while his company, FGC Communications, pled guilty to the charge of first-degree assault. For legal purposes in this case Padilla “is” FGC Communications. He faces up to seven years in prison.

Sentencing for both are set for July 27.