An underground steam pipe that exploded last year in the Flatiron district of Manhattan sent hot steam and debris into the air. Thankfully nobody was injured. However, that explosion resembles one that occurred nearly 12 years ago in which one person was killed and several more were severely injured. The exact cause of this particular underground utility pipe explosion in Manhattan is still determined but some experts have suggested the cause of the two separate explosions could be the same. The phenomenon is called a “water hammer” and occurs when cool water comes into contact with hot pipes carrying live steam. The temperature differential causes the steam pipes to fail and an explosion results.
An investigation into this underground explosion in New York City was ordered by the Governor. City engineers and outside experts suspect that the age of the underground steam pipe network could have played a part. In this particular section of Manhattan there are over 100 miles of pipe laying beneath our feet that deliver live steam to buildings throughout the neighborhoods. That system is over 150 years old.
While the utility companies in charge of maintaining that network do inspect, repair, and replace damaged pipes, it’s a never-ending task and one that some say is bound for disaster. With corroding pipes crisscrossing Manhattan’s underground, some engineers fear that it’s only a matter of time before there is another, bigger, deadlier underground explosion in New York City.
Utility companies who maintain these pipes can be held liable for any injuries caused by their failure to inspect or performing a faulty repair or installation. However, investigations into past underground pipe explosions have shown, that construction crews working in the area have also caused some of these underground explosions.
If you or a loved one has been injured by exploding underground pipes, a utility company could be financially liable for your injuries. Contact an experienced underground explosion attorney in New York City today. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 without any further delay.