A Steam Pipe Exploded in Manhattan: One Injury Reported
NEW YORK — July 20, 2018
A steam pipe exploded beneath Fifth Avenue in Manhattan early Thursday, hurling chunks of asphalt, sending a geyser of billowing white steam stories into the air and forcing pedestrians to take cover.
Our crews are responding to the steam rupture on 5th Ave & 21st street along FDNY and NYPD to isolate the main. As a safety precaution please keep away from the area.— Con Edison (@ConEdison) July 19, 2018
Several other people are believed to have also been injured in the blast, which blew up a section of a nearby building, sending huge blocks of concrete flying into the air.
There also were manhole explosions from West 19th Street to West 21st streets. Some subway trains were bypassing the area.
The high-pressure steam leak was reported at around 6:40 a.m. According to the emergency services, one person is injured. Energy company Consolidated Edison warned people to bag their clothes and shower immediately as a precaution against possible asbestos.
In addition, the office of the Local Police Department, one of its ambulances, dozens of homes and a number of motor vehicles were damaged by the explosions.
The company tweeted:
Environmental testing is being conducted to determine whether asbestos or other contaminants are present, but as a precaution anyone in the vicinity of the rupture who was covered in material is advised to bag their clothing and shower. pic.twitter.com/pChgI0gLia— Con Edison (@ConEdison) July 19, 2018
Buildings along several blocks of Fifth Avenue have been evacuated as a precaution.
"I looked around and saw this big huge plume of the steam shoot into the air," said Daniel Lizio-Katzen, 42, who was riding his bike home to the West Village.
"It was a pretty violent explosion," Lizio-Katzen told. "The steam was shooting up into the air about 70 feet. It was pushing up at such a high pressure that it was spewing all of this dirt and debris. The cars around were coated in the mud... It left a huge crater in the middle of the street."
Brendan Walsh, 22, a senior at New York University, had just gotten off a train and was headed to class when he saw the plume.
"The billows were about six stories high. There was a large scatter of debris," he said. "I was standing behind the police line when a Con Cd worker came rushing over and screaming at police and firefighters to push everyone north because he was worried that there could be secondary manhole explosions."
"Everyone — including the police and firefighters who were standing by — started moving back," he said.