FDNY and Con Ed Respond to Manhole Fires in Union Square

NEW YORK -
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Firefighters at the scene of the blasts at Broadway and East 12th Street Friday. (FDNY)

Some Manhattanites who live around Union Square are without power Friday and dealing with snarled traffic due to manhole fires in the area.

Several people on social media said they felt or heard explosions near Union Square before 8:00 a.m.

More than four hours later, the FDNY and Con Ed are still at the scene of what Con Ed said on Twitter were “3 manhole fires near 12th St & Broadway.” Con Ed said it is “working with FDNY to make area safe,” and that it is working “to restore customers affected,” though it did not note how many customers were affected.

No injuries were reported, though the blast shattered glass at Strand Bookstore, located the corner of Broadway and East 12th Street. Around 9:00 a.m., Strand tweeted, “Hi Strand fam, thanks for checking on us this morning. The Strand (& books) are safe!! We are currently closed, stay tuned for updates.”

Manhole fires are caused by melting snow and salt, and the FDNY is warning New Yorkers: “Carbon monoxide (CO) — a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas that is totally undetectable to the human senses — is generated during manhole fires. CO is deadly, and in the case of a manhole fire, CO accumulation may potentially lead to an explosion. If you see a manhole that is smoking, don’t hesitate, call 911 right away. And remember to always have a working smoke/CO alarm in your home.”

More carbon-monoxide safety information is available on the FDNY’s website at http://www.fdnysmart.org/carbon-monoxide/