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Hurt Plumbers Want School Explosion Video

NEW YORK (CN) - Plumbers injured in a gas explosion at a Bronx high school over the summer have petitioned to have New York City turn over surveillance videos and other documentation related to its investigation of the blast.

The explosion, which happened Aug. 20 at John F. Kennedy High School, damaged the school's sixth floor and resulted in three injuries. Luigi Barillaro, Charles Marullo and James Intriago were all burned in the explosion, according to court records.

In the days prior to the explosion, Barillaro, Marullo, and Intriago were installing new natural gas lines into the high school's sixth floor laboratories. As part of that work, they had to purge air out of the gas lines.

The explosion took place in the evening. Four other contractors were in the building when it blew up, but they were unharmed, police officials said at the time. No students were hurt.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials blamed Barillaro days after the incident, saying he had lit a match while checking for a gas leak.

"I do believe this was a mistake and obviously a very costly one for the workers involved," de Blasio was quoted as saying in a New York Post story on Aug. 21. Another press report in the New York Daily News said the explosion was caused by a contractor who hit a gas leak with a blowtorch.

Barillaro was the worst injured after the blast. He reportedly suffered burns to 90 percent of his body.

City officials have "stonewalled" the plumbers' efforts to get documents from the fire marshal about the cause of the explosion, according to the Dec. 28 petition, which mentions the "severity of the explosion" and "the fact that the requested information is public record anyway."

Barillaro's attorney, Michael Jaffe of Pazer, Epstein & Jaffe, said the city has provided no explanation yet as to why the documents have been withheld. Jaffe declined to comment further.

The high school campus, which services more than 3,000 students, opened for classes in September as scheduled.

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