Exploding NYC Manhole Goes Up in Flames

Every now and then it's really fun to remember that New York City is a dangerous place. Like when you're walking in the West Village, say Bleeker St. and Leroy St. on a Saturday night, and a manhole starts going berserk on a busy street. That's what happened to Reddit user dbs176, who pulled out a camera and took the above video on New Year's night. As fire shoots into the air, along with thick black smoke, tiny explosions sound in rapid succession. It sounds like fireworks, but it looks cooler. So, what happened?

The city seems to not have said, though our camera-person reports that despite the taxis passing in the clip, "emergency crews showed up a few minutes later" and blocked off the street.

"POPCORN MONSTER!´╗┐" says one YouTube commenter.

The nerds on Reddit have other ideas: "I have a hunch this is an underground power transformer, or a severed cable hitting water and naturally occurring gas. The telltale hum (and arcing) is there, so I hope my hunch is right. Either way, it's awesome when high voltage shit goes bang."

"I'd like to believe it is two wizards battling underground in the NYC sewers," someone calling themselves The_Murderer responded. There's always that.

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6 comments
Vanharris
Vanharris

Be careful New Yorker's! Exploding manhole covers can cause serious injuries and even death. I was a victim and the city say's that there need's to be a prior written notice for anyone who seeks compisation for there injuries. (If you get enjured by an exploding manhole cover, the city will not pay you for the enjuries!)

Derek Rhode
Derek Rhode

Sounds like a methane build up that ignited.

FirstName
FirstName

If it was methane, wouldn't it ignite in one continuous blast?

Derek Rhode
Derek Rhode

now after watching the video that is definitely electrical. That's pretty intense i wouldn't want to be close to that much energy.

huizi0406
huizi0406

Con Edison spokesman Allan Drury said that smoking underground cables caused the fire. High Strength Structural Steel PlateUtility crews were at the scene, but no power High Strength Structural Steel Plateoutages were reported. Officials closed 40th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

A fire official said that after the blast, firefighters checked carbon monoxide levels in the basement of a nearby building.

Though not nearly as serious, the fire recalled the rupture of a steam pipe beneath a street on the other side of Manhattan in 2007. Dozens of people were injured High Strength Steeland a woman died of a heart attack.

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