New York City steam pipe explosion closes streets

New York City steam pipe explosion closes streets

New York City steam pipe explosion closes streets

A steam pipe ruptured underneath a street in the Flatiron district of Manhattan on Thursday morning, producing a thick geyser of white smoke and debris that contained asbestos, authorities said.

Traffic closures remain in effect on Fifth Avenue from 19th Street to 23rd Street during the Friday morning rush hour, according to the Twitter feed of NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan.

As a precaution, Con Ed is urging anyone in the area at the time of the blast who may have been covered in any debris to bag their clothes and take a shower.

A total of 49 buildings were evacuated, displacing almost 500 people. About 500 people were displaced and almost 250 residential units affected, the press office said. "Now that we know there's asbestos present, we're not going to cut any corners".

The explosion in Manhattan was "pretty violent", an eye witness told New York Daily News. WATCH raw video from NewsCopter 7 over the scene The utility has representatives on site to collect contaminated clothing, and a reception center has been set up at the Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street for anyone who has questions or needs an escort to their building.

Daniel Lizio-Katzen, 42, was riding his bike home to the West Village when he saw the plume from the high-pressure steam explosion.

The incident raised fears of asbestos contamination and the need for repairs to underground equipment could result in the shut-down of streets in the area for days.

An Emergency Responder examines Midtown Manhattan's steam pipe explosion in New York City U.S

In a tweet, Phillips said the cleanup will start with buildings further from the blast "to free up buildings as fast as it is safe to do".

Similar explosions over the year have drawn attention to the aging infrastructure beneath the streets of the nation's largest city.

In 2007, a steam pipe burst in Midtown Manhattan, killing one and leading to millions of dollars in lawsuits, while a 1989 steam pipe explosion killed three people. A law firm said that the steam system had "a long documented history" of systemic problems.

First responders evacuated 49 buildings as a precaution.

Con Edison workers were on scene isolating the steam lines.

Nearby streets were closed after the blast, creating a morning rush-hour nightmare.

What led to the steam pipe exploding is still unknown, but officials are now examining the scene and have launched a full investigation. MTA buses were also detoured.

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