MANHATTAN — A Con Edison service box near the Union Square subway station caught fire Friday afternoon, officials from the utility said, creating smoke above ground and forcing street closures in the busy area.
The cause of the fire at 14th Street near Broadway was most likely "failure of electrical cables," Con Ed spokesman Allan Drury said, noting there were no outages or injuries.
The fire was out, Drury said just before 2 p.m.
But fire trucks remained on scene after that and 14th Street reamained closed from Union Square East to Broadway. Witnesses still spotted smoke coming up from the ground.
It was not immediately clear what caused the electrical problem.
"A pedestrian was walking out of the subway when there was an explosion," said Nick Yakimov, 45, a Con Ed employee for 10 years who was on the picket line nearby. "He could have been hit by debris. It's chaotic."
Con Ed workers have continued to protest at the utility's headquarters since being locked out earlier this month as leaders on both sides try ioning out a new labor deal.