Gas Explosion at Bronx High School Caused by Lit Match

NEW YORK (AP) -
Mayor Bill de Blasio surveys the scene on Thursday as workers respond to an explosion at a Bronx high school. (Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)
Mayor Bill de Blasio surveys the scene on Thursday as workers respond to an explosion at a Bronx high school. (Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)

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.

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.

A 73-year-old man who lives across the street from the school said he ran outside when he felt the force of the blast.

“The whole building shook for a very short time, like an earthquake,” said Eric Kumaga, adding that he saw no fire or smoke.

Officials are working to find alternative classroom space for the approximately 4,000 students who will be unable to start the year in the badly damaged building.