Chaos as New York City steam pipe explodes

WABCA steam pipe exploded at Fifth Avenue and East 21st Street in the Flatiron district of New York

WABCA steam pipe exploded at Fifth Avenue and East 21st Street in the Flatiron district of New York

A steam pipe explosion is closing streets in the Flatiron District Thursday morning.

Five people have been injured after a steam pipe exploded beneath Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, hurling chunks of asphalt, sending a geyser of billowing white steam stories into the air and forcing pedestrians to take cover.

The New York Fire Department, according to The New York Times, cautioned residents near the explosion to "shelter in place" while the assessed the damage, confirmed that no one was hurt or killed.

Eleven buildings have been evacuated, FDNY said.

There have been no fatalities of injuries reported so far, but the NY authorities have evacuated the people from the nearby buildings as a precaution. The cars around were coated in mud.

WABCA steam pipe exploded at Fifth Avenue and East 21st Street in the Flatiron district of New York
WABCA steam pipe exploded at Fifth Avenue and East 21st Street in the Flatiron district of New York

The explosion was also affecting subway service because trains were bypassing the 23rd St. Stations. The streets were closed around the explosion, which left a massive crater in the streets.

Businesses were braced for the worst as the response dragged on and police and firefighters blocked access to buildings close to the explosion, crippling their neighborhood and their workday.

"My whole body was shaking, I didn't know what was going on at the moment", one man told NBC New York. Con Edison says crews have been working to isolate the steam rupture.

More than 100 miles of steam pipe run beneath Manhattan, delivering vapor that powers heating and cooling systems in thousands of buildings, among other functions.

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