Times Square Manhole Explosion Briefly Spurs Panic and Confusion

Footage shared to social media shows people in the area near the initial boom running for safety. Officials have since confirmed there were no injuries.

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A startling boom briefly spurred panic and confusion in Times Square on Sunday, with local authorities later clarifying that a manhole explosion was to blame.

Per a report from regional outlet WABC, the incident occurred near 215 W. 43rd Street shortly before 7 p.m. local time. Additionally, smoke was observed coming out of two additional manholes in the area. Quickly shared tweets, some including footage, showed how those in the area—at least initially—were troubled by the associated sounds.

In a clip shared by Twitter user @bdball, pedestrians can be seen running in response to the sound while a voice is heard asking, “What is it?”

A rep for Consolidated Edison, an energy company responsible for powering the region, later confirmed the manhole explosion. According to the rep, the fires had been sparked as a result of “cable failure.” There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY), per WCBS, has since confirmed the mitigation of the cellar and sub-cellar of an associated building that had been discovered to be demonstrating “elevated carbon monoxide levels.”

Similar manhole-related incidents, of course, are far from uncommon in metropolitan areas. But given the current state of everything, it’s easy to understand how Sunday’s explosion was initially met with concern. When reached for comment by Complex on Monday, an FDNY spokesperson offered the following rundown of events:


Complex has also reached out to a rep for Consolidated Edison. This story may be updated. 

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