Asbestos found around NYC pipe that exploded

Minnie Murray
July 21, 2018

A neighborhood in Manhattan, New York City, was rocked Thursday morning when a steam pipe exploded, causing transit disruptions and street closures.

"There is real concern whether the debris entered buildings and air conditioners", de Blasio said.

Police and firefighters blocked access to buildings close to the explosion, including the one where Paul Schweitzer runs what he called with a twinkle in his eye "a very important service that New Yorkers rely on" - the Gramercy Typewriter fix company. "Now that we know there's asbestos present, we're not going to cut any corners".

About 100 firefighters who responded to the explosion were expected to be treated in asbestos decontamination units, and two decontamination centers for the general public were set up in the area, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said.

A July 2007 blast tore a deep crater in an intersection near Grand Central Terminal and sent a scalding geyser into the air, leaving one woman dead from a heart attack as she fled.

James Vreeland, a 49-year-old engineer, was walking down 22nd Street on Thursday afternoon carrying a large white garbage bag full of the clothes and a backpack he had worn that morning, searching for a station where someone could tell him whether his possessions were contaminated.

Firefighters worked at the scene of a high pressure steam explosion on Fifth Avenue in NY. On the subways, R and W trains are bypassing 23 St in both directions because of FDNY activity on 5 Av and 21 St. FDNY is now operating at a third alarm.


Hundreds of residents in Manhattan's Flatiron District were shut out of their homes and businesses, a day after the explosion spewed vapor into the air. "There was asbestos in the steam-line casings". Several buildings in the immediate area have been evacuated as a precaution.

While this steam pipe explosion didn't cause any major injuries, it's worth noting that two similar explosions in the past weren't almost as harmless.

Multiples streets were closed in the area including a stretch of Fifth Avenue.

The local power company didn't stop the flow of steam pouring from the rupture until three hours later.

The underground steam pipes in Manhattan, which are part of the largest steam network in the country, date back to 1932.

MTA bus service in and around the area is also being affected.

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