Two Manholes Erupt in TriBeCa, Leaving Building Without Power

By Tom Liddy and Jess Wisloski  on November 10, 2012 12:55pm  | Updated on November 10, 2012 1:21pm

TRIBECA — Two manholes exploded just before noon on Saturday in Lower Manhattan after a transformer caught fire, officials said.

The FDNY responded to a call reporting an explosion at 11:13 a.m., a fire spokesman said, and firefighters rushed to the scene of two exploding manholes at Greenwich and Reade streets.

The eruption was caused by a transformer fire, the FDNY said, but it was unclear if the problem may have been caused as aftermath of hurried repairs made after Hurricane Sandy, according to Con Ed.

As a precaution, Con Ed shut down power to 145 Reade Street — a residential building, according to public records.

Another site, a New York Sports Club at 151 Reade Street, was evacuated following the incident, but it was unclear if the gym reopened shortly thereafter — the phone at the location had an ongoing busy signal.

"We'll have to examine the equipment and determine why it failed," a spokesman Con Ed said.

Alan Troncillito, who owns Troncillito Farms and was manning a stand as part of a regular  greenmarket at the corner, said there was little warning.

"It started smoking and then there was a small explosion," he said. Half an hour later, he heard a bigger explosion.

"It shook the ground. I think my heart skipped a couple of beats," he said.

Someone nearby carrying brussels sprouts lost grip when the explosion went off, he added.

"It was raining brussels sprouts."

Neither agency had more information immediately available as of 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

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