Saturday, September 2, 2017

Michael Hrynenko, Jr., awaiting trial for his role in the 2nd Avenue gas explosion, dies at 31

Michael A. Hrynenko, Jr., a key figure in the Second Avenue gas explosion investigation, died on Aug. 25. He was 31, according to an obituary posted Aug. 27 at the Pizzi Funeral Home website.

A cause of death has not been disclosed for Hrynenko, who was also called Mischou.

He was the son of Maria Hrynenko, the landlord of 119 and 121 Second Ave., two of the three buildings destroyed by the deadly blast on March 26, 2015. He lived on Seventh Street before moving to Rockland County in 2014, according to published reports. (His father, Michael, owned the Kiev Restaurant on Second Avenue and Seventh Street. He died in 2004.)

In February 2016, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance's office charged Maria and Michael Jr. along with contractor Dilber Kukic and plumber Jerry Ioannidis with manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide and assault in the second degree, among other charges. (The final defendant, licensed plumber Andrew Trombettas, was charged with offering a false instrument​,​ for allegedly lending his name and license number to paperwork.)

The five were accused of installing an illegal gas system, which they hid from inspectors, at No. 119 and 121. All five pleaded not guilty.

In announcing the charges in February 2016, Vance singled out Michael Hrynenko, who served as a building manager, and Kukic for their actions on March 26 at 121 Second Ave., the site of the restaurant Sushi Park.

As the Post reported at the time:

The two were caught on ​building surveillance ​video ​the day of the deadly blast and fire ​responding to a fumes complaint from the ground-floor sushi restaurant, then quickly running to fiddle with their hidden basement gas set-up — literally sprinting through the restaurant without warning a single patron, officials allege.

Moments later, restaurant-goer Nicholas Figueroa, 23, and restaurant worker Moises Lucon, 26, were fatally engulfed in the blast, which also injured two dozen others, among them Kukic and Michael Jr.

The criminal case has yet to go to trial while the multiple civil actions are still making their way through the courts.

To date, Maria Hrynenko and her companies have reportedly been hit with 28 lawsuits.

In June, Hrynenko filed a lawsuit, claiming that her management company was "careless and reckless" in its work. In the spring of 2015, as investigators focused on her actions, a lawyer for Hrynenko said that Con Edison bore responsibility for not shutting off the gas during the visit to the property earlier that day.

"Maria would not have sent her son in there if she knew the building was going to explode," the lawyer, Thomas M. Curtis, said in 2015, according to The New York Times.

The Hrynenkos were expected to appear on Sept. 12 in New York Supreme Court in front of Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr., per court records.

Updated 12:24 p.m.

Giovanni shared this link from the Orangetown Daily Voice from February:

A Sparkill man accused of drunkenly crashing his car and failing several field sobriety tests immediately after is facing a felony count of driving while intoxicated, according to police.

Michael Hrynenko, 31, was taken into custody about 4:50 p.m. Monday after officers responded to a reported one-car crash in a parking lot off Route 303, according to Orangetown police.

According to authorities, Hrynenko was found behind the wheel of the crashed car and appeared to be drunk. He submitted to several field sobriety tests at the scene, which he's accused of failing, according to police.


Read the previous coverage here.


Giovanni said...

This has now tuned into a Bernie Madoff-level family tragedy. While we don't know the cause of death, it was not hard to see this coming. According to news reports, back in February he crashed his car and was arrested for DUI in Rockland County. He was facing a ton of legal problems, so it's not surprising this ended in tragedy, to compound all the other tragedies from the gas explosion. How sad.

Cops: Sparkill Man Involved In Crash Off Rt. 303 Was Drunk -- Orangetown Daily Voice


ORANGEBURG, N.Y. -- A Sparkill man accused of drunkenly crashing his car and failing several field sobriety tests immediately after is facing a felony count of driving while intoxicated, according to police.

Michael Hrynenko, 31, was taken into custody about 4:50 p.m. Monday after officers responded to a reported one-car crash in a parking lot off Route 303, according to Orangetown police.

According to authorities, Hrynenko was found behind the wheel of the crashed car and appeared to be drunk. He submitted to several field sobriety tests at the scene, which he's accused of failing, according to police.

Hrynenko was arrested in the parking lot and taken to police headquarters where, according to police, he refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

Hrynenko was later arraigned in Orangetown Town Court, where he was charged with DWI and taken to the Rockland County jail , according to police.

According to authorities, the 31-year-old is to return to court on Feb. 14.

Gojira said...

Man, what a waste of skin this dude was. I wish I felt bad for him, but for reasons that should be apparent to all, I simply cannot. Karma, the turning of Fortune's wheel, Kismet - whatever it was, it came for him.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, this just reminds/sounds like a Madoff type of thing.
The legal pressure-burden, financial also maybe, the worry
of things yet to come, may have been too much already.
All this misery and loss over the greed of gas.
While the getting was good for them, how much did they
actually save - didn't that electrician - or anyone warn them of what could happen.

Anonymous said...

For those that lack any sympathy for this man and the family and friends he leaves behind please keep in mind that he was not convicted of the charges related to the gas explosion. We do know that what was done with the gas line in that building was illegal and dangerous but I doubt it was anyone's intention to harm residents and those inside that restaurant. We will see where the chips fall with the upcoming trial but for now this incident has another lost life associated with it.

Anonymous said...

I wish he had warned everyone in Sushi Park instead of sprinting past everyone, as the prosecutors said based on the surveillance footage. Why not yell get out? He would have been busted for the gas hookup, but he likely would have saved two lives and prevented countless injuries.

Anonymous said...

The other commenter was right. (1:24) This man wasn't formally charged or convicted. None us know the full story...yet. While his actions seem shady, we still don't know the exact truth. And, yet indeed, another life is now taken from this madness. Such a young man as well, like the other two victims. Its a very tragic situation for so many people. I do hope justice will be served in one way or another on behalf of the two who were killed, in addition to all of the residents who lost their homes in those two buildings.

We can also speculate as to why he died, such as a suicide, but that information has yet to be released. No matter how he died, or why, it is beyond sad. I am not supporting his contempt or shitty actions, but does it really make anyone feel better to point fingers and celebrate his death??

Anonymous said...

Is it a tragedy when a murderer is convicted of murder and goes to jail for life? Think of his family! This is a completely backwards reaction to the death of a morally bankrupt individual.

I have no sympathy for those who have zero sympathy for their fellow man. Out of pure greed, this family not only jeopardized the life of numerous individuals, but actually killed two people. Who cares if he died before he was convicted, or killed himself? A guilty conscience comes from being guilty. Evil is doing what is in your self interest, and not caring about the harm to others. That's what this family did. I'm not saying we should dance on his tombstone, but this newagey nonsense sympathy for the devil spits on the graves of the two innocent victims of this family's greed.

Anonymous said...

Oy... I feel bad for the family; surely there are some decent people among them who are suffering tremendously. And just the fact that there's even more loss of life in this entire tragedy is heartbreaking. I believe people should get their day in court, do the time, and have a chance to rehabilitate themselves and start over.

At the same time... Between his (alleged) actions in the EV, drunk driving, and the reports that the family was selling the sites, which would create opportunities for them to hide money from the victims suing them... I'm not exactly going to cry for him.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:35: since "None us know the full story...yet." then how on earth do you know enough to declare this a case of "another life ... taken from this madness?"

Maybe it had nothing at all to do with anything?

In any case I'd be more interested in hearing about how Moises Ismael Locón Yac's and Nicholas Figueroa's families feel about than any armchair judgments.

Anonymous said...

I lived in one of his dad's buildings adjacent to the Kiev for many years. Always a busy place. When they closed rather abruptly, I wondered if they had been caught doing anything shady. After the explosion, I wondered what the gas hookup in the Kiev and in our building had been like.

Anonymous said...

An all-around horrific tragedy; that was a really beautiful photo of him #RIP

ERD said...

A wise man once told me, there are always two sides to a story. There's his side, someone else's side and the truth. None of us was likely there that day so passing judgement is simply derived from what one has read in the media (which is never the most accurate story). This man had his entire life ahead of him and he should be afforded the same opportunity as maybe your own relative innocent until proven guilty. Him passing resolves this situation no further and in fact only delays civil Legal proceedings until there's a fiduciary appotined to his state. Further more, the DA can't convict a deceased person, so in light of the foregoing he passed an innocent man and will be presumed as such. May he RIP.

Scuba Diva said...

"Maria would not have sent her son in there if she knew the building was going to explode," the lawyer, Thomas M. Curtis, said in 2015, according to The New York Times.

The first thing I think of is the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs says: "Would I turn on the gas and throw a lighted match if my friend Rocky were in there?"

"You might, rabbit, you might."

Anonymous said...

In a court of law he is considered innocent until proven guilty, however the public and those personally involved are allowed to have a reasoned opinion as to his guilt and express it. I don't have sympathy for this guy as much as I do for those who died and lost their homes. I suspect he was up to no good and and was partially responsible for what happened based on media reports and his arrest and that's where I leave it.

JQ LLC said...

Ultimately, this guy felt remorse and guilt for his cowardly act and for the heinous crime he committed after all. And as someone up above mentioned, this is going to elongate the case and bide some time for the surviving fiends to move some cash around.

Give. Me. A. Break. said...

So let me get this straight: after having been involved in the worst gas explosion in East Village history which killed two people, wounded dozens, destroyed several busiensses and dozens of homes, ths guy gets drunk, gets in his car, and crashes it, resulting in a DUI arrest. He could have killed even more people by driving drunk, but somehow we are suposed to have sympathy for him, or give him the benefit of the doubt, even though we will never have his day in court now that he is dead and gone? Give. Me. A. Break. He used to Instagram about his luxury lifestyle, his house with a pool and exotic vacations, but he had to delete his accounts after the disaster, to hide his wealth. His property should be seized to help make restitution for the victims, but the courts will probably give it all to his survivors so they can hide it from the victims too. Save your sympathy for people who actually need it. In this case we need justice, and so far there has been none.

Giovanni said...

Do you know how songs take on a different meaning the moment an artist dies? I remember the day that John Lennon died, and radio stations were playing all of his songs. Every song ever he did took on new meaning from that day forward. The same went for Michael Jackson, and Bob Marley, and so many others. Well, Michael Hrynenko won't be around to tell his story, but one of his social media accounts that didn't get deleted after the gas explosion in 2015 is still around to tell us who he was. He had a twitter account that stopped posting in 2012. These tweets from @TeaRaceMisch are from the Spring and Summer of 2012, and they really do tell us a story: he was a rich Bro, who drank and smoked weed, just like all the other rich Bros who populate this neighborhood every weekend. The difference that most Bros ar not invloved in any buildings blowing up. Here is a selection of the words he left behind:

At Mexican fajita extravaganza! Goin HAM on this bitch! Piggin out hardcore

Follow me... And all you will have is love and wealth !!!!!

Practice safe sex and go fuck yo self ...

My life is fantastic and can only get better.... I need to find a single/independent woman . This is the
Immpossible part. Cuz........

That moment. When you quadrupled x 2 on drugs. Hmmmm. Out come ='s???

random asshole hitting my buzzer... I go who is it? "its JJ" . I shake my head. unleash the beast. Oh yea, random...

i cannot decided whos funnier. Joey or Chandler from friends. they crack me up. (Someone replied: "worst show ever")

This is why I don't drink in excess. Cuz I hate having hangovers. First one in a loooooong time

Single for life... Unless you are unbelievable special... Like really, really, really something worth a second of my attention

Blunts bongs and bowls

Who wants to go to the machine gun shooting range to blow off some steam? This guy does

There's always that one pretty girl with an ugly personality.

am I lucky ? or just that awesome?

Perfect Saturday night. In seaside, watching the Olympics, couple beers and a joint. Stayin in. Not goin out. Relaxing

Life is one crazy highway. With twists, turns, bumps. Life and death. Treasure each moment and live in the moment

Dont judge me by my past, I dont live there anymore

Where ya think ya goin baby? I don't give a fuck. You suck. Obviously, moving on. Goin home. NYC flat

u say u not a hoe ...aiight, no doubt... next time ya say that be sure to wipe ya mouth

Smoke weed everydau

Single, NYC ! New flat in NYC. Brand new Jeep, NYC. Y is it so hard to just have a fuckin date?!?!. I give up....

McDonald's being the official restaurant of the Olympics is like smoking being the official medicine of cancer

Imma go a month sober again!!! Ughh. Once a year, but so worth it... Kinda necessary. Last year was epic

If you drink enough, your brain starts photoshopping people.

Life's to short to think about "what if I did this".... No, if it feels right ... Do it now

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the mention of his death has now been REMOVED from the funeral home's website. "404 Page Not Found"

And frankly, maybe he's dead - or maybe he faked his death, for all I know. Were any legal/prosecutorial authorities notified of his death? Did anyone from law enforcement or the DA's office see his dead body and/or carry out any kind of DNA testing? How do we know this isn't a fake report of a death, which would be just one more slimy thing done by this family, to add to the slimy things they've done in the past?

I am highly skeptical; this "death" seems remarkably conveniently timed for late August (when people aren't paying much attention) and Labor Day weekend (when many people are away), so not much coverage at all. And so near in time to when he'd have had to show up in court.

So, was this: death from natural causes, accidental death, suicide, or a faked death? To die suddenly at that age would generally require an autopsy to be carried out to determine cause of death. I personally don't see how anyone can be sure.

Michelle Cohen said...

Has anyone seen an actual body? An obituary on a funeral home site that is taken down soon thereafter does not a demise make.

Anonymous said...

He may not have been found guilty, yet, but he is suspect AF for being the "go to" guy when their illegal setup sprung a leak. They didn't all Con Ed, they didn't call the FDNY, they called him.

Anonymous said...

Make 9 million from selling the lots, then "die" and abscond with the money to Thailand. Sounds like a plan.

Anonymous said...

The fact that people are questioning whether he is really dead just reinstates how ridiculous most of these commentators are. When you stoop to conspiracy theorist comments, you become just as bad as the people you allege to be evil.

Perry Mason said...

@2:2PM. As if this would be the first time someone faked their own death in order to escape from prosecution. Don't you watch any MeTV? First of ll the "obituary" was very brief and barely said anything about his life. Secondly, it quickly disappeared, leading to questions about its authenticity. Third, there is no other confirmation or statement from his family of his passing, which is odd given his high profile and with the upcoming trial. Fourth, none of his friends or relatives have mentioned it on their social media pages. Fifth, knowing he faced years in jail and loss of all his wealth, there were only two easy ways out: death, or fleeing the country. So it is not unreasonable to question what happened to him, especially when so many questions are now swirling around the funds generated from the recent sale of the property where the buildings once stood. The family made millions on the sale, and this guy suddenly dies. That's strange. If you don't think any of this is suspicious then you're probably not from New York.

Anonymous said...

The Post, the Daily News and the UK Daily Mail all did a story on his death, linking to the online obituary at the funeral home. I wonder if people started leaving awful comments on the funeral home web site and they removed the obituary?

Anonymous said...

There must be a lot of Satan worshipers on this website because a few too many people here seem like they would have sympathy for the devil. By telling other people that they shouldn't judge others, you are by definition judging others. This guy was a rich little jerk who got what was coming to him. End of story. Judge that.

Anonymous said...

Michael A. Hrynenko
Died: August 25, 2017
Location: New Jersey
Tribute & Message From The Family

Michael passed away on Friday, August 25, 2017.

Michael was a resident of New Jersey at the time of passing.

A funeral service will be private.

deedubya said...

I wouldn't put it past this dude to have faked his death as a means to escape prosecution. Open casket? Will authorities comment that they investigated and are certain he died?

After proper authorities have confirmed his death, then, on to the trial of the others.

Habeus Corpus said...

So the CENTRAL figure in the gas explosion case does suddenly at the ripe old age of 31, and all we have is a 3 line obituary and a now deleted page on a funeral home website? If there was ever a legal case that required habeus corpus, which literally means "you have the body" it's this one.

Anonymous said...

Yes, at the service with his mourning family and friends. Have some respect

Anonymous said...

Guys dead you need to trust that. Was never sane after his dad died it's tragic all he wanted was to be loved but he went about it in the wrong way.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You obviously have not done your homework buddy. Almost evey member of his extended family changed their social media pics to pics of him.... why would they say anything outright with a million conspiracy theories and the media. If they were me I wouldn't say anything and have my kids funeral in peace. It doesn't take a rocket scientist

Anonymous said...

2:57. That's the absolute truth

Anonymous said...

Yes open casket at his wake. With his sisters and mother mourning a massive loss.

Anonymous said...

Any news on this trial? Guessing there will never be any justice for the families of the dead, or the displaced.