NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Fire Department will now have a much greater role in responding to reports of possible gas leaks.
That is according to an order made by Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to the March explosion that leveled two East Harlem buildings and killed eight people.
The mandate is included in the centerpiece of a City Hall report obtained by The Associated Press before its release on Wednesday.
Previously, residents who smelled gas were often told to call their gas utility or 311, the city's hotline.
Now, they are urged to call the 911 emergency line, which triggers a response by the fire department. Any calls to 311 automatically will be directed to 911.
Officials believe the change will dramatically improve response time to possible gas leaks.