A van just exploded in the Flatiron District in New York City, leaving the vehicle in flames and billowing a giant cloud of black smoke. Mashable's Community Producer Jeremy Cabalona came out of the subway to see the scene and was told by a police officer that the van had exploded. He took the Vines below of the fire and firefightters putting out the flames:
These Instagram videos from above were caught by Instagrammer @Shannonamay:
We'll keep you updated with more information as it comes in. For now, keep away from 23rd Street and 5th Avenue.
UPDATE: The flames have been put out, via @rlytle:
UPDATE #2: Looks like things are clear, but the public is still being asked to please stay away from the area.
Looks like the van has been put out, but the fire warden is still asking us to stay away from the offices on the 5th Ave side of bldng— Katy Kelley (@katykelley) July 31, 2013
Here's a different view of the fire:
UPDATE #3: Apparently, the van didn't explode, it just caught fire, according to Shimon Prokupecz of WNBC-TV:
No explosion in #flatiron law enforcement officials say. Just a van that caught fire.— Shimon Prokupecz (@shimon4ny) July 31, 2013
UPDATE #3: According to Business Insider, Police Officer Douglas Alston said that the driver of the van was in the vehicle when it caught fire but was able to make it out unharmed. The only reported injury is a single case of smoke inhalation.
UPDATE #4 (info from the New York Daily News): The driver and passenger had no idea that his vehicle was even on fire.
“I feel lucky,” said Moses Huggins, 60, of Bedford Stuyvesant. “We were in the truck and we didn’t even know it was on fire.”
The van had recently been filled up, and they were delivering meat for 7 M Foods Corp. Wilson Jimenez, a sanitation worker, yelled at the two to get out of the van when he saw a flame starting under the vehicle. Jiminez’s co-worker Steven Pujols claimed that he heard a couple explosions, which were likely just crackling noises from the engine or the tires popping.