You might not think about the manholes you walk past everyday in NYC but in early April Times Square turned into a free-for-all as a series of underground explosions in New York City sent pedestrians and motorists hurrying for safety.
Late in the afternoon of April 10th, several underground fires broke out in the Times Square are of Manhattan causing multiple explosions and manhole fires along W 43rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The loud booms caused panic and sent pedestrians and tourists running for safety.
The FDNY responded within minutes and extinguished the fires. The NYPD was also deployed to calm and control the frantic crowd.
Manhole fires are not as rare as you might think—they just aren’t covered by the media as often as other types of accidents in New York City. In fact, even though explosions of this sort don’t occur often, there were over 6,000 manhole fires reported in 2020 alone. That’s a massive jump over previous years according to official reports released by the mayor’s office.
These types of fires often occur when explosive gas builds up in the underground service conduits accessed by manholes. Usually, an electrical fault causes a spark that ignites those gasses. Sometimes the force of the explosion is large enough to actually catapult those manhole covers—which weigh hundreds of pounds each—through the air. Previous underground explosions in New York City have resulted in manholes slicing through automobiles or crushing the hoods of cars.
There were no reports of such potentially deadly flying steel discs this time but the randomness of this most recent underground explosion in New York just goes to show how quickly a normal day in the city can turn into potentially life-threatening chaos.
If you’ve been injured by a utility fire or gas build up in the city, you need a New York City attorney experienced in underground explosions on your side. Call Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation with a personal injury professional.