Explosions rock manhole covers as Con Ed restores power in Manhattan

Officials said the explosions occurred when the utility started restoring electricity and the current hit salt on the power lines. The salt was the remnant of a 10-foot wave of East River water that crashed through the complex at the height of the storm Monday.

Several small explosions rattled storm-weary residents of Peter Cooper Village late Friday night and even blew two manhole covers as Con Edison was restoring power to the area. The latest apparent nastiness from Hurricane Sandy — days after the nightmare storm — caused no injuries, according to paramedics and Con Ed officials on the scene.

Officials said the explosions occurred when the utility started restoring electricity and the current hit salt on the power lines. The salt was the remnant of a 10-foot wave of East River water that crashed through the complex at the height of the storm Monday.
Residents said the first explosion occurred near 6 Peter Cooper Road and filled the building’s basement with acrid smoke.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick said the Fire Department was called after high levels of carbon monoxide were detected in the basement.

As that area was almost all cleared of smoke, firefighters and residents were startled to hear two louder explosions nearby, on Avenue C under the FDR Drive.

“It blew us out of bed it was so loud,” one tenant in 8 Peter Cooper Road said around 11:30 p.m.

The second explosion caused the two manhole covers to blow. One cover cracked into pieces from the force.

Garodnick said the management of the complex, which includes Stuyvesant Town, told him Con Ed started bringing power back before the salt was completely cleaned off the electrical equipment.

A fire department official said early Saturday morning that the FDNY received several complaints from Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town of “a gas odor and small explosions” starting around 9 p.m. Friday and continuing until midnight.

The official said some residents were evacuated from the Peter Cooper Village complex as a precaution, but no injuries were reported and residents were eventually allowed to return home.

He said he did not know what caused the problem.
Earlier in the evening, residents received an email from management that it could be weeks before some buildings get power back because the storm caused such serious damage.

Source

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