New York City's Flatiron District is completely shut down this morning after a burst steam pipe triggered a series of destructive explosions. A massive crater has been blown open in the middle of a busy road. Chunks of asphalt, mud and debris went flying in every direction.
Manholes reportedly started exploding on several streets in the area. No immediate injuries have been reported, but the city's Fire Department has launched a mass evacuation of the entire area.
Major steam explosion in New York City. Major disruption and it could get worse. Ch 2 Daybreak is keeping you updated pic.twitter.com/Td4nNRgapP— Ernie Bjorkman (@erniebjorkmantv) July 19, 2018
At least five high-pressure pipes allegedly exploded at around 6:40 AM ET. Hazmat teams are on scene conducting whether asbestos or contaminants have been released into the area. Authorities are asking all nearby residents to bag their clothing and shower immediately as a precaution.
Videos show massive billowing plumes of dark smoke near Fifth Avenue and 21st Street, completely engulfing surrounding buildings. The thick clouds appear to be growing in size, and the area is a complete disaster. Parked cars in the vicinity at the time of the explosion are now completely caked with mud.
WATCH — smoke from a pipe explosion in New York City at Broadway & 21st near the Flatiron Building— J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) July 19, 2018
Media reports claim that the changing colour of the smoke could indicate a fire underground. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
Authorities are urging the public to stay clear of the Flatiron District for the time being, as the area may be dangerous. More updates are expected to come in shortly.
Source: NBC New York