Manhole Fire Forces Brief Evacuation of Corona Middle School

By Katie Honan on February 14, 2014 12:13pm 

 The explosion happened just after 7 a.m. on Friday morning, the FDNY said.
The explosion happened just after 7 a.m. on Friday morning, the FDNY said.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CORONA — A manhole explosion forced officials to briefly evacuate a local middle school after carbon monoxide was detected in the building's basement, according to the fire department.

The fire on on 98th Street, near 50th Avenue, in front of I.S. 61, the Leonardo da Vinci school, erupted at 7:10 a.m., according to a spokesman.

Soon after, firefighters found elevated carbon monoxide levels at the school, FDNY spokesman Jim Long said.

"The highest level was found at 400 parts per million, with a concern that it would continue to rise," Long said, adding that anything above 9 parts per million can be considered dangerous.

Students who were just arriving to school were told to remain outside, while students, faculty members and staff who were already inside were ordered out.

They were let back into the school about an hour later, after levels dropped, Long said.

There were no reported injuries.

The manhole explosion was likely caused by salt and melting snow from the storm Thursday, according to the FDNY.

Firefighters and Con Edison remained on the scene to monitor the manhole and others nearby.

Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said "the school was evacuated and students are re-entering the building."

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