Friday, March 31, 2017

Updated: Manhole explosions reported near Union Square

Emergency responders have been on Broadway between Union Square and 12th Street after a series of manhole explosions just after 8 this morning.

No word yet on the cause. There weren't any reports of injuries either. Will update when more information becomes available.

Updated noon:

Some details from the Daily News:

The blasts shattered the windows of the Strand Bookstore, which had not yet opened for the day, and forced the evacuation of 826 Broadway next door after eleveated carbon monoxide levels were detected, officials said.

The second manhole exploded under an FDNY firetruck that had rolled up to respond to the first explosion, damaging the vehicle, officials said.

The blasts were likely caused by damage from salt laid down during winter snowstorms and washed into the underground system by Friday morning’s rainstorm.

Updated 1:15 p.m.

Here's more from an updated WABC 7 report:

Multiple manhole fires that led to evacuations and building damage Friday, likely were caused by salt used on roads during snowstorms.

Salt laid down during winter washed into the underground system, according to the New York City Fire Department. When snow melts and mixes with salt, it can spark fires and explosions.

As for damage..

Three buildings had broken windows: 60 East 12th St., 70 East 12th St., 77 East 12th St.

There was interior damage and high carbon monoxide readings in 826 Broadway, which led to evacuations. In the basement of 817 Broadway, there also were high carbon monoxide readings.

There weren't any injuries reported.


Anonymous said...

Daily News article says 6:20am for manhole explosions. I am several blocks east and did not hear anything at that time, but definitely heard enormous "thunderclap" from that direction around 8am, just before heading to work.

Anyone know if the damage is only on the east side of B'way? Wondering about the opposite side, where Pret a Manger might have been affected.

Cosmo said...

Falling down an open cellar door, being killed by an exploding manhole, crushed by a falling air-conditioner - my biggest NYC fears.

Anonymous said...

I have previously spoken to the fire department when they are dispatched to deal with "exploding manholes."

Essentially the problem will never get fixed because Coned says it's the city's problem and the city say it's Coned's problem. So no one will take ownership of the decaying electric grid infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Gee Anon @12.42, Of all the things to worry about is whether a Pret a Manger is open. Where are your priorities? I, too, heard what I thought was a thunderclap just before 8 AM when I left to go to Beth Israel.

Axis of Eville said...

I was walking on the street at 12th st and 3rd avenue (1 block away) when it happened, I would say about 7:46AM. It did sound like a nearby lightning strike.

Trixie said...

Who knows? @anonymous 5:10 pm Maybe @anonymous 12:42 has friends at Pret a Manger. Why prioritize somebody else's concerns?

nutbeem said...

My 12 year old daughter crosses that corner every day at 8.50am. Luckily she was late today. We feared for her safety for about 90 seconds after the thunderclap, which shook our building on 12th b. 3rd and 4th. Then she came scampering back home and leaned on the buzzer until she got in the lobby. Poor thing was shaking like a leaf.

Anonymous said...

Pret has a nearly entirely glass facade, and if people were in there (customers or employees) and the glass had shattered, it could have led to serious injuries. So it's not about getting food...

Trixie said...

OMG @nutbeem That was a close call!

JQ LLC said...

It's fascinating that the cause of this was because of rock salt, because it barely snowed at all here all winter.

But what the city likes to do is lay down salt hours or a day before the storm even starts. I guess it's to have a clear path on the busiest streets, so after a few hours of precipitation it melts immediately. Which may be why these underground fires have been happening on occasion.

Anonymous said...

Rock salt? Not buying. Then these blasts would be routine all over the city, constantly. So much construction down here and no broad oversight. Too many fragments of development and subcontractors without checks and coordinated supervision or followup. E 12th St near Ave A been ripped up over 2 doz times for one reason after another for years now. No one knows anyone else and its redone by umpteen "depts" or their contractors.
On 14th St there are massive block-wide digs where no DOB guys- much less MTA guys -ever appear. Wait till the massive L train tunnel collapses or a fire due to incompetence or negligence occurs, wont be pretty as L is always overcrowded now... LES becoming the wild west or downtown Baghdad.