CHELSEA — A manhole fire billowing thick black smoke shut down West 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues Wednesday afternoon, closing local businesses early and sparking a giveaway at the local Doughnut Plant.
An electrical fire in a transformer across from the Chelsea Hotel filled the block with dark acrid plumes of smoke for more than an hour.
The Fire Department evacuated multiple buildings because of the level of carbon monoxide in the area, FDNY officials said. At the Doughnut Plant across the street, friendly workers gave customers and a firefighter doughnuts.
A video posted by Rosa (@roarbitrar) on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:34pm PST
Neighbors said they felt shaking in the area for about an hour before the trucks came.
"There were bright lights flashing out of the manhole with explosions each time," said Andy Goldman, 67, an architect who lives across the street. "Inside the building it was shaking. I tried to read and I couldn't."
Free donuts as the donut plant is evacuated pic.twitter.com/T0hH1sBYwZ— Rosa Goldensohn (@RosaGoldensohn) March 4, 2015
Power could go out Wednesday night during the repair, the FDNY said.
Firefighters flooded the manhole with water to put out the fire before a Con Edison team could go in and inspect the situation.
The cause was of the fire was "the salt that gets into the electrical system," according to Sidney Alvarez, a spokesman for Con Edison.
"That's basically a bad mixture," Alvarez said.