Hilton Hotel Explosion in Midtown Injures Two, Knocks Out Power

By Patrick HedlundBen Fractenberg and Mary Johnson  on June 13, 2012 1:32pm  | Updated on June 13, 2012 5:14pm

An incident in the electrical room at the Hilton Hotel brought fire crews to the Sixth Avenue location shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.
An incident in the electrical room at the Hilton Hotel brought fire crews to the Sixth Avenue location shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

MIDTOWN — An explosion in an electrical room at the Hilton Hotel Wednesday afternoon injured two people and left the hotel with limited power, authorities said.

More than five dozen firefighters responded to the hotel, at 1335 Sixth Ave., near West 53rd Street, after getting a call around 1 p.m., the FDNY said.

Two workers had been in a utility room in the hotel's basement working on an electrical panel, said FDNY Assistant Chief James Esposito, the Manhattan Borough commander.

“We had an explosion,” Esposito said. “The two workers sustained minor injuries.”

The incident left the hotel running on emergency power, Esposito said.

Deputy Chief Jim Hodgens said the hotel's 24 elevators were searched after the power outage, and nine people were stuck in two elevators for a half hour before they were finally removed.

No one on the elevators suffered any injuries, Hodgens added.

Con Edison was also on the scene attempting to restore power to the hotel, which is at full occupancy with roughly 3,000 guests, Esposito said.

A Hilton New York spokesman said the hotel had considered the possibility of having to relocate some guests if the power cannot be fully restored right away.

But he said floors 24 to 44 had full power with all elevators operational, and crews were working to restore the rest of the hotel's power as quickly as possible.

"The safety, security and well being of our guests and team members remain our top priority," the spokesman said. "As such we are working with the local authorities to quickly resolve this issue."

Greg Didomenico, 43, had a meeting at the Hilton on Wednesday but left the building after the incident occurred.

“The lights went out," said Didomenico, who lives in Virginia. "It sounded like a series of muffled electrical pops."

Jason Didden, 37, who was also at the hotel for a conference on Wednesday, said he saw one of the injured workers shortly after the explosion occurred.

“He was in shock," said Didden. "They had a towel wrapped around his hand,”

FDNY officials said it was not immediately clear what had caused the incident, but an investigation is underway.

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