VIDEO: Marvel Comics Among Offices Evacuated in Midtown Manhole Explosion

By Janon Fisher and Gustavo Solis  on January 6, 2014 4:15pm  | Updated on January 6, 2014 4:55pm

MIDTOWN — Flame on!

A manhole explosion on a busy Midtown block Monday afternoon forced the evacuation of at least 1,500 workers — including the offices of Marvel Comics and cartoon channel Adult Swim.

The booming eruption startled office drones and sent plumes of grey smoke and flames shooting 10 feet into the air, fire officials said.

An underground transformer blew up in front of 140 W. 51st St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues, about 2:11 p.m., officials said.

"It sounded like a car exploded," said Skylar Hayes, 30, who had to leave his office. "You could hear it from all the way up on the 12th floor."

Smoke quickly spread throughout the 23-story building, which was emptied after firefighters recorded high carbon monoxide readings, fire officials said.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, but was not taken to the hospital.

Dozens of tourists crowded around 51th Street taking photos and video of firefighters tackling the blaze.

"It's an extended lunch break," Hayes said as he waited to go back into the building.

But later Monday, workers were told them they could retrieve their coats and bags and leave for the day.

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