Underground Explosion Disrupts Midtown

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Underground Explosion Disrupts Midtown

NEW YORK Jan. 11, 2001 1:44 pm (WCBS) An underground explosion in a manhole forced some buildings in Midtown Manhattan to be evacuated on Thursday.

CBS 2 reports an electrical transformer started burning at Lexington Avenue and 59th Street spewing smoke into the air at approximately 11:15 a.m.

The blast also broke nearby windows and damaged several cars.

A Consolidated Edison spokeswoman said there were no immediate reports of injuries or power outages.

Con Ed crews, who were at the scene, along with police and firefighters, said they were not certain of the cause but speculated that salt in the runoff water from melting snow could have corroded cables underground, causing the explosion.

The incident also spread a deadly gas, carbon monoxide. The amount of gas reached levels high enough to be deemed dangerous and officials ordered people out of some buildings.

New York City Transit said subway service to the nearest station at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue was normal after a five-minute stoppage.

The blocks nearby were cordoned off as emergency crews worked at the scene, but Bloomingdale's department store, across the intersection, remained open for business as usual.

The street where the manhole was located was partly broken up by the blast and a piece of square iron housing from inside the manhole could be seen jutting out of the pavement.

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), January 11, 2001

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