Queens Manhole Explosions and Fires Prompted Evacuations

A manhole fire in Astoria, Queens caused a minor explosion and elevated levels of carbon monoxide which prompted three nearby buildings to evacuate.

The fire was reported just before 3 p.m. at 31-17 Broadway after a manhole cover exploded while fire erupted from another down the block. 

The FDNY immediate scanned surrounding buildings for carbon monoxide and found elevated levels in buildings at 31-01, 31-11 and 31-17.

The FDNY immediately ordered all occupants to evacuate as a safety precaution. 

According to the FDNY, the fire was caused by road salt and decaying underground infrastructure. 

“You got old wires, old infrastructure, whenever it snows, you got the salt mix with water, it eats away at insulation of wire, it arcs, causes a problem, it exploded,” said FDNY Chief Brian Deery.

No injuries were reported so far but a vehicle belonging to Carlos Villamarin was damaged after a manhole cover shot up into the undercarriage. 

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