Monday, March 26, 2012

Manhole Explodes on Sixth Avenue as Transformers Catch Fire

Two transformers caught fire on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan,

FLATIRON DISTRICT — A manhole exploded on Sixth Avenue Monday, causing several nearby windows to be blown out, officials said.

The explosion was possibly caused by Con Ed electrical equipment catching fire below West 17th Street at roughly 2:30 p.m., the FDNY said.

Just as firefighters were leaving the scene, a second transformer caught fire, shooting flames out of a manhole down the block at 55 W. 17th St., an FDNY spokesman said.

"It was like a bomb," said George Tamayo, 26, who works on the sixth floor of the building. "The whole building shook."

The explosion blew out several nearby windows, sending shards of glass onto the street, he said.

An FDNY spokesman said firefighters initially picked up on dangerous carbon monoxide readings in the lobby of the building. The FDNY subsequently evacuated about 10 people from the building.

No one was injured when two transformers caught fire on Fifth Avenue on March 26, 2012. (DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg)

No one was injured, officials said.

They were allowed back in the building some 90 minutes later, a fire chief said at the scene, after CO readings leveled off and were no longer deemed dangerous.

The FDNY spokesman said about 4 p.m. that the transformers were nearly extinguished. The block was re-opened to traffic just before 4:30 p.m.

Sara Banda, a Con Ed spokeswoman, said workers were on the scene, but the cause was not immediately known. There were no outages as a result of the manhole fires, she said.

By: DNAinfo

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