An October 4 explosion in Borough Park, Brooklyn, that leveled a three-story building and killed two women was first feared to be the result of a gas leak. When a preliminary inquiry ruled out that possibility, FDNY officials conducted an extensive investigation, finally concluding that intentional acts led to the explosion and fire.
One of the victims was 48 year-old Francisca Figueroa, a cosmetologist and mother of three who was being evicted from a second-story apartment. According to the New York Times, authorities had ruled out a gas leak because the gas line leading to Figueroa’s apartment had been turned off since June. The nature of the fire — its continuous, active flaming — also did not suggest natural gas buildup was the source.
Then, on December 3, ABC News reported FDNY officials had determined that Figueroa had poured gasoline in the stairwell of the building, sparking the explosion and fire. Figueroa is said to have texted her children communications that could be described as “farewell messages,” but Figueroa’s sister insisted she did not commit suicide.
However, if FDNY officials are correct, Figueroa did commit arson and murder. Ligia Puello, 64, was found in the hallway and pronounced dead from severe burns.
The city has been on edge over a recent spate of gas explosions and ominous reports of the degraded conditions of the pipelines running throughout the five boroughs. Equipment failure was suspected intially in this case, but has been ruled out.
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