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Manhole Explosions Leave Midwood Residents Without Power

By Alissa Ambrose | May 30, 2012 1:55pm
Flames shot out of a manhole on East Seventh Street in Midwood on May 29, 2012.
Flames shot out of a manhole on East Seventh Street in Midwood on May 29, 2012.
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Yavuz Ozalp

MIDWOOD — A pair of manhole explosions rocked a normally quiet block in Midwood Tuesday night, leaving neighbors with power outages and property damage, authorities and residents said.

The two manholes blew open on East Seventh street between Avenues O and P about 8:10 p.m., sending flames and plumes of smoke into the air, witnesses and FDNY officials said.

"The lights started to flicker and there was a loud explosion," said one resident of the block, who declined to provide her name. "I saw the flames shooting up." 

The aftermath from the explosions left at least 54 customers without power, a Con Edison official said at the scene. Crews from the utility company worked through the night to repair electrical damage, but many residents were still experiencing blackouts as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

Con Ed said the explosions were isolated incidents and that it is investigating the cause. 

Water damage was also reported by the owners of a home located just a few yards from one of the manholes. The residents said their basement flooded with about a foot of water shortly after they saw the explosion outside.

Neither the FDNY, who responded to the scene Tuesday night, nor Con Ed could confirm the flooding was related to the electrical issue. 

No injuries were reported, but at least one vehicle had its windows blown out by the blasts, witnesses said. 

"The car was about to go on fire," said Yavuz Ozalp, a building superintendent who works and lives on the block, noting he was inside his building when he heard the explosion and rushed to move his van, which was parked next to the manhole.

"I've seen this before, so I knew exactly what was happening," he said, adding his van's mirror was blown off and one back window was smashed.