NEW YORK (AP) — An explosion that blew a gaping hole in the side of a high school just days before classes were to begin was touched off when a worker tested a gas line by lighting a match, the mayor said Friday.
Three workers were badly burned in the Thursday evening blast, which blew the walls and windows off several classrooms on the sixth floor of the John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx.
“I do not believe this is standard procedure,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday in an interview with WINS radio. “I believe it was a mistake, and obviously a very costly one for the three workers involved.”
Officials are working to find alternative classroom space for students who will be unable to start the year in the badly damaged building.
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Two charter schools that use the building were scheduled to start class Monday. Those students will begin the year instead at another school building down the street, the mayor said.
Plans are being worked out for other students who use the damaged building. They are scheduled to start the year on Sept. 9.
Around 4,000 students use the high school’s large campus.
The injured workers were private contractors who had been upgrading the school’s science labs, officials said. They remained hospitalized Friday.