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Streets Remain Closed Near Union Square Hours After Manhole Explosions

By Allegra Hobbs | March 31, 2017 2:22pm | Updated on March 31, 2017 6:06pm
 A stretch of Broadway remained closed Friday afternoon after a manhole explosion that morning.
A stretch of Broadway remained closed Friday afternoon after a manhole explosion that morning.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

EAST VILLAGE — Streets surrounding the site of several manhole explosions Friday morning remained closed into the early evening as the Fire Department and Con Edison worked to assess the damage and carry out repairs.

Three manholes caught fire Friday morning near East 12th Street and Broadway, a Fire Department spokesman said — one blew around 5:30 a.m., while a second exploded around 7 a.m. and another caught fire. 

A stretch of Broadway between 14th Street and 12th Street remained closed to vehicular traffic as of around 6 p.m., while the east side of the street was closed to pedestrian traffic. 

East 12th Street is closed to vehicular traffic between Fourth Avenue and Broadway.

A Con Edison representative at the scene said workers were still assessing the damage and were unable to estimate when the streets may reopen. 

The Strand Bookstore at 826 Broadway was evacuated due to high levels of carbon monoxide, an FDNY spokesman said. The store's windows were also blown out during the explosions, police said.

The bookstore was shuttered all day Friday, but plans to reopen Saturday, according to the shop's Twitter.

Other businesses on the taped-off stretch of Broadway — including the Forbidden Planet comic book store — also remained closed Friday evening, though it was unclear whether the closures were due to carbon monoxide. 

A woman who lives several blocks from the site of the explosions said she was jolted awake by a loud boom sometime between 7 and 8 a.m.

"It was so loud, it shook our building — it woke me up, it was so terrifying," said Amelia Blackwell, who lives at East 12th Street and Third Avenue.

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