World Media

Asbestos spewed into air after steam-pipe explosion

Asbestos spewed into air after steam-pipe explosion

The steam-pipe explosion that rocked the Flatiron District in Manhattan on Thursday was a roaring reminder of a fatal blast that happened 11 years ago in Midtown.

A steam pipe exploded at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street in New York City at about 6:40 a.m. ET on Thursday.

There have been no fatalities of injuries reported so far, but the NY authorities have evacuated the people from the nearby buildings as a precaution.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was directing the state's Department of Public Service to conduct a full investigation into the cause of the explosion and determine whether any utility activities contributed to it. The explosions sent massive plumes of scalding steam up towards the morning sky.

New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the five people suffered minor injuries and 28 buildings had been evacuated.

Authorities said no one was seriously injured in the Thursday morning blast.

Daniel Lizio-Katzen, 42, was riding his bike home to the West Village when he saw the plume from the high-pressure steam explosion.

An Emergency Responder examines Midtown Manhattan's steam pipe explosion in New York City U.S

Twenty-eight of the 49 evacuated buildings were in what officials called "the hot zone" and will likely remain evacuated the longest, de Blasio said, adding that the buildings need to be scrubbed and closely examined for contamination.

It urged people to avoid the area and recommended that anyone who came into contact with any material from the steam blast shower should put their clothes in a bag. The following streets are closed to vehicle traffic: West 19th Street to West 23rd Street, from 6th Avenue to Broadway.

"There was asbestos in the steam line casing, [but] the air cleared fairly quickly after the incident".

"Everyone - including the police and firefighters who were standing by - started moving back", he said.

The five minor injuries stemmed from flying debris at the original eruption.

Another deadly Manhattan steam pipe explosion, in August 1989 in the Gramercy Park neighborhood, killed one resident and two Con Ed workers. Con Edison says crews have been working to isolate the steam rupture. Subway trains were diverted around the blast area.

"Like so much of our infrastructure in NY, the steam infrastructure is getting older and needs to be upgraded", said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of New York's Center for an Urban Future, a nonpartisan policy organization.

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