According to

PSE&G and subcontractor Henkels & McCoy were hit Wednesday with the largest fines ever issued by the state Board of Public Utilities for safety violations that led to the fatal gas explosion in a Ewing neighborhood last year.

Workers digging at the South Fork housing development in Ewing on March 4, 2014 struck a gas line, but never called 911 to report the gas leak or call for evacuations of the townhouse neighborhood.

The leak led to an explosion that killed 62-year-old resident Linda Cerritelli, injured seven utility workers, leveled 11 homes and caused some damaged to every unit in the 130-house complex.

“The settlement approved today by the NJ Board of Public Utilities is fair and sets forth a number of changes to company procedures about how we handle damages to our gas facilities and reports of gas leaks, including better defining the roles and responsibilities of emergency response personnel,” PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson said in an email.

The BPU fined PSE&G for failing to comply with its own policies for emergencies and leaks, not seeking police or fire assistance and not “expeditiously terminating the flow of gas.”

Cerritelli’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last year against both companies. The case remains pending.

“It is gratifying to see that corrective measures are being required. It’s tragic that neither Henkels & McCoy nor PSE&G did so voluntarily. The amount of the fines speaks volumes to the egregiousness of the misconduct here,” Kline said.