A manhole explosion and ensuing fire caused panic in Midtown Manhattan outside of the Time-Life building on 7th Avenue at around 2 p.m. local time. Witnesses at the scene reported hearing a cracking prior to the explosion according to NBC New York.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Time-Life Has Been Partially Evacuated
FDNY are on scene telling people to avoid the area. The first floor of Time-Life has been evacuated with the rest of the building being told to shelter in place. CBS New York reports that officials are concerned about the levels of Carbon Monoxide that may be in the air.
2. Thick Black Smoke Can Be Scene From Blocks Away
Early reports suggest the fire and was caused by a transformer, but CBS New York is saying that it was caused by “melting salt corroding wires in the manhole.” Black smoke is being reported by witnesses emanating from 140 West 51 Street (above).
3. The Explosion Was Felt on the Subway
Midtown fire at 51st & 5th. #nyc pic.twitter.com/MhbX1njMjj
— Marika Shaub (@marikatogo) January 6, 2014
Witnesses felt the vibrations of the explosion on the subway beneath 7th avenue.
4. It’s Not Known How Many People Were Hurt
There are no reports of injuries.
5. The Time-Life Building is One of the Most Famous in Publishing
The 48-story building is the home of Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. It’s also the fictional home of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce in Mad Men.