Manhole Explosion Sends Flames Shooting onto Amsterdam Avenue

By Emily Frost on June 27, 2012 4:40pm 

Firefighters sprayed down a smoking manhole on Wednesday after an underground explosion sparked a fire.
Firefighters sprayed down a smoking manhole on Wednesday after an underground explosion sparked a fire.
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DNAinfo/ Emily Frost

HARLEM — An explosion below Amsterdam Avenue sent flames shooting through a manhole Wednesday afternoon.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen rising out of two other manholes along the avenue between 131st and 133rd streets, witnesses said. No one was injured in the incident, officials said.

Con Edison workers were on scene investigating the cause of the blast.

No residents were evacuated from nearby buildings, police said, but power was shut down at 1470 Amsterdam Avenue.

Javier Rodriguez, a resident of 1470, said the explosion woke him up. "It sounded like a bomb going off."

"It was shocking. It was scary," said Rosie Caba, 24, adding that she thought a car had exploded. 

Ever after FDNY doused several manholes along the avenue they still continued to smoke for hours. 

Albert Curiel, 24, who lives near where the explosion happened, said he noticed the lights flickering after he heard a booming sound. 

"I'm just glad the ligths didn't go out. There's a heat wave coming," he said. 

Con Edison representatives are still assessing the situation which they said could have been caused by old wires or power overages. The company expected to have the power restored to 1470 Amsterdam Avenue by the evening.

This is the second manhole fire in less than a week in the city after a manhole fire left Borough Park residents without power last Thursday.

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