More Details on Injured Con Ed Worker

ConEd mechanics fix broken gas lineIan Duncan One of the Con Ed mechanics at this site, Mike Dwyer, was treated by paramedics at the scene of the gas leak.

The Local has more details of the Con Ed mechanic treated for gas inhalation earlier today. He was Mike Dwyer, a 38-year veteran of the utility company, who worked at Ground Zero for 293 days after the 9/11 attacks. As a result of his work there and exposure to asbestos, he said, he has restricted airways.

Mr. Dwyer said paramedics were worried about his condition and offered him oxygen but he refused to go to the hospital. Instead, he intended to get back to work this afternoon and finish his shift at 11 p.m. this evening. A Con Ed spokesman said that Mr. Dwyer was back on duty at precisely 3:51 p.m.

“I was responding to a gas emergency, I was doing what I had to do,” said Mr. Dwyer, who is 60. He wears long gray hair scraped into a pony tail and wore heavy blue overalls, despite the heat. He spoke to The Local as he sorted tools in the back of a Con Ed emergency van.

A EMT looks on as Mike Dwyer is treatedIan Duncan The leak was secured by 2:30 p.m.

Mr. Dwyer’s Con Ed truck was just a couple of blocks away when the emergency call came in. He said that since 9/11, emergency teams have taken their trucks home after their shifts in order to respond more quickly.

Mr. Dwyer said today’s incident was the first of its kind in his long career and he blamed it on a combination of the gas and heat. He added that he loves his job and has no intention of retiring any time soon.

Recalling working in the East Village before it was gentrified, Mr. Dwyer said Con Ed workers refered to it as “the Badlands.” Drug dealers frequently asked work crews to move their trucks away from corners where drug sales were taking place, he said, adding that those confrontations never escalated. After dark, crews had to work in pairs in the neighborhood — now they can work alone. “It’s changed a lot,” he said.

On his Twitter page, Mr. Dwyer identifies himself as an Army veteran. He grew up in Brooklyn but now lives in Staten Island.

The Con Ed spokesman said a private contractor struck at low pressure gas line. The leak was secured by 2:30 pm and evacuated residents returned to the building at 2:42 p.m., but Con Ed workers remain on the scene. A two-man team was using a metal rod to penetrate the sidewalk surface and another tool to measure underground gas levels.