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Steam pipe explodes in New York's Flatiron District

NEW YORK-A steam pipe exploded in Manhattan and caused evacuations and covering commuters in clay and junk during the tough times on Thursday morning.

A spokesperson for the New York Fire Department said a call came in at 6: 39 o'clock for a "high pressure explosion" in the neighborhood near Madison Square Park. About an hour later, 25 fire trucks and more than 100 firefighters and medical staff were in place. There were no injuries or deaths, FDNY said.

Firemen evacuated buildings near the explosion site at 1

41 5th Avenue, according to FDNY spokesman.

"It's great," said spokesman. "It's not smoke, it's steam. But there must still be something where the buildings are evacuated."

Officials said the firemen were still working to contain the three-alarm explosion. An urban environmental contractor made a water pipe installation at the intersection, according to city record.

NYPD officers were also on stage targeting traffic, according to NYPD

Sgt. Lee Jones.

He added that the incident did not appear to be criminal.

A Con Edison spokesman said that crews conducted testing of asbestos "and other pollutants" in the area. "As a precaution, someone is recommended in the vicinity of the crime that was covered with material to bag his clothes and showers," the spokesman said in a statement.

Chef's spokesman for New York City mayor said in a tweet explosion did not seem to cause structural damage.

"First respondents stop turning off waterproofness now," spokesman

Eric Phillips

said. "FDNY inspects nearby manhole to ensure security. Preventive and temporary evacuation of nearby buildings. Travel delays are likely to remain."

The city's R and W subway lines went around 23rd Street in both directions due to the event, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Ernest Hinnant,

who works in the area of ​​a cooperative, cut off the subway at Union Square just before 18:45 and noticed steam and thought it came from a restaurant. As he turned to 5th Avenue, he saw a cloud plume and heard the steam vapor.

"There's a massive kind of substance coming out of the cloud that's a kind of coating of the soil. At first I thought the solid was ash and it was a fire, but it's just gray and not ash," says Hinnant.

He said the explosion puts two holes on the street, a larger hole on 5th Avenue and 21st and another just south of 5th Avenue and 20th Street.

"It's still quite happening, it's just like a big rush sound, "says Hinnant." I can see two cars that are hard under the cloud, they are completely covered by whatever goes out of the case. "

Shella Eckhouse,

a Manhattan apartment worker working at a jewelry company, went on a Citi bike to a training class in Chelsea when the explosion occurred just a few yards away.

"I suddenly heard" Pow! "" She said. "There was rubbish that came down and vapor flight. I was covered in clay."

Ms. Eckhouse said she "pedaled so fast" to get away as soon as possible. In about a minute she had parked her Citi bike and made her way to her class.

Now she is a bit philosophical about the experience. "It's New York City," she said. "Everything can happen at any time."

Write to Zolan Kanno-Youngs at [email protected]

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