Police: Tank in Hastings explosion was filled with gas

Police say the underground tank that was being removed at a Hastings-on-Hudson home was filled with fuel when it exploded, killing two men.

The blast happened just before noon Thursday at 65 Hillside Ave.

Police say Segundo Mora, 50, and Luis Jacho, 52, both of Ossining, were killed while trying to excavate an underground oil tank from behind a three-story multifamily home. The tank is commonly used for heating oil.

According to investigators, one of the two men attempted to remove the tank by cutting into it with a saw when the massive explosion occurred, sending the tank 75 feet in the air and into nearby woods.

"The tank was sealed, the vapors may have built up in the tank, and when the worker went to cut into the tank with a saw, the sparks ignited the vapors causing the explosion," says Hastings Police Chief Anthony Visalli.

Police say that Three-D Industrial Maintenance in Hawthorne, the company the two men worked for, is licensed to do the type of work and serves as a contractor for the state. The company is yet to comment on the incident.

Police are continuing to investigate whether proper procedures were followed, and whether the tank was tested before being removed.

Local police departments are working with the U.S. Department of Labor and the state Department of Environmental Conservation in the investigation. It is expected to take one to two weeks to complete.

In the meantime, Mora's family is blaming the company for the tragedy.

Sergio Mora says that his brother was not trained in tank removal and should not have been on the job. He says his brother was a part-time worker at Three-D and Jacho worked for the company for three years.

Mora was a father of three who loved fishing, his family says. Both men were originally from Ecuador, and lived together in Ossining.

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