Monday, February 20, 2017

Smoke and flames poured out of a manhole in Queens Sunday after a series of underground explosions caused by defective cables

Eyewitness News
Monday, February 20, 2017 04:34AM
FOREST HILLS, Queens (WABC) -- Flames poured out of a manhole in Queens Sunday after a series of underground explosions that had residents on edge.

The manhole fire happened just before 11 p.m. on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.

Con Edison says a defective cable made three manholes smoke, causing a power outage. Crews cut the defective cable.

Three cars were damaged by flying debris.

Users took to social media, saying the fire sounded like a large explosion.

One person who lives on Queens Boulevard says his building shook.

No injuries have been reported and power is back on in the area.


Residents Describe Hearing Explosions After Defective Cable Causes Manhole Fires In Queens February 20, 2017 12:00 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Residents in Queens say their neighborhood was rocked by a series of manhole explosions Sunday night that damaged several parked cars and left dozens without power.

Just before 11 p.m., an electrical fire shot blue flames out of a manhole on Queens Boulevard between 67th and 68th avenues.

Some people who live nearby captured one of the blasts on video. In a matter of minutes, two more explosions sent smoke billowing into the air.

“Saw a huge fire, we saw basically fireworks exploding from our balcony from this manhole cover over here,” resident Dana Ben Benyamin told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.

“It sounded like a big explosion, like a bomb. Everyone thought it was a bomb,” said resident Rio Yonathan. “Everyone in the building was terrified. We went outside and cops said, ‘Get inside.'”

“It was very loud. It shook the whole building,” another neighbor told 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman.

“Huge explosion, it sounds so badly,” said a man who works at a nearby 7-Eleven. “It shake the windows and everything.”

Con Edison officials told CBS2 the blasts were caused by defective cables underground.

“Then all of a sudden I saw huge pieces, I couldn’t tell if they were — if they were metal or concrete, but I saw three huge pieces fly,” said Ben Benyamin.

That airborne debris landed on parked cars, cracking windshields and crushing hoods. It took the FDNY nearly two hours to extinguish the raging flames underground.

Con Ed said no one was working underground at the time.

No injuries were reported, but one building in the neighborhood was left without power.

“Good thing nobody got hurt,” one resident said. “The damage to the cars is tremendous.”

Crews are still working to repair the defective cables.