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Manhole fires cause damage in downtown New York City

03 April 2017

Three manhole fires near Union Square in New York City damaged nearby buildings on March 31, fire officials said. The FDNY received calls about manhole fires along 12th Street from 5:30 a.m. and a loud explosion was heard shortly before 8 a.m., when the manhole on Broadway and 12th Street exploded.

Stock image
Stock image

There were no casualties but some buildings, including the Strand Bookstore on the corner of Broadway and 12th Street were left with broken windows after the explosions. The Department of Buildings said it was investigating the damage.

The utility concerned, Con Edison, said the incidents were under investigation but the likelihood was that recent rain had carried salt used on roads during snowy conditions into the electrical system underground, corroding wires and sparking the fires and explosions.

A few buildings were evacuated due to high carbon monoxide readings, the utility said.

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