Our cities, especially extra large ones such as New York City, are filled with older buildings that are kept there just for the rent the engender or for the money they will make when they are sold. Landlords do not take responsibility and they should even for routine maintenance and checking items like this.
Ultimately, the gas company is responsible for the explosion since they are the ones that regulate the natural gas. Supposedly, a gas smell built up overnight and residents called to complain. Twenty minutes after the first call, the explosion happened. If someone opened up a gas valve and just let it simmer overnight, that person is responsible. However, the gas company probably could have done more. Surely the utility company would have seen that a large amount of natural gas was being consumed at this building sometime in the overnight hours, right? I don't think the building owners were responsible. Either the utility company or some crazy person is responsible. Even conspiracy theorists may say this was a simple terrorist attack in which the building's own architectural structure was used against it. It is not impossible to rule out someone decided to let gas seep into the building's hallways while everyone was asleep when a valve was intentionally ruptured in the basement.
I do not believe the building owners of the two collapsed buildings were responsible for the gas leak explosion in Manhattan, more accurate Harlem. Evidence does not indicate a lack of building maintenance. There were no warning signs for this explosion, the only exception being a single phone call about gas right before the explosion. It would appear no one is to blame in this situation.
No, the building owners of the two collapsed buildings were not responsible for the gas leak explosion in Manhattan, because they could not have seen it come. I'm sure the building was up to code, and that it was inspected. The owners could not have foreseen everything that could have happened.