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Explosion in Manhattan Rattles New Yorkers

Posted July. 20, 2007 03:12,   


A loud explosion, smoke swirling around tall buildings, and bleeding New Yorkers rushing out of the subway. This was the scene in Manhattan on July 18.

A major explosion resembling the September 11 terrorist attack took place at the center of Manhattan, New York, at 5:55 p.m., July 18 (6:55 a.m., July 19 in Korean time). Officials from New York City reported that one had been killed, and about thirty people who had been injured were sent to the hospital. Two of the injured are in a critical condition. The explosion occurred near Lexington Avenue and 41st street, right next to Grand Central Terminal. A steam pipe installed underground burst, sending thick plumes of steam and smoke mixed with mud into the air. The 77-story Chrysler building nearby was also covered with smoke.

The explosion sent close by buildings shaking and a small bus at the site was thrown up into the air, plunging back onto the ground.

There was pandemonium, with people fleeing from Grand Central Terminal and other buildings close to the site, and many were injured during the chaos. When the accident first happened, some broadcasting networks reported that a building collapsed, which turned out to be false.

Since the site was near Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler building, a symbol of New York, where a lot of commuters pass by, people feared that it could be another terrorist attack.

Eurydice Kelly, a nine-month pregnant lawyer, who was evacuated from a nearby building, said in an interview with The New York Times, “I was in the World Trade Center during the September 11 incident, and I thought this was another terrorist attack.”

After an initial investigation, the New York City police department and the fire department concluded that it was not a terrorist attack. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg relieved people, saying that it was a pure accident due to problems in the infrastructure of New York City, and that there was no connection with terrorism.

New York City officials revealed the reason for the explosion, saying that the cold rain in the morning seeped into the ground, causing an underground steam pipe and substation to burst. Steam pipes are installed underground Manhattan for steam discharge from air conditioning in buildings. Even several hours after the accident, thick plumes of steam came out from the crater in the center of the road, covering buildings with white fog. New York City officials recommended that people who were exposed to steam and mud take a shower and wash their clothes since the explosion may have released asbestos into the air.

The police blocked roads between 40th Street and 45th Street, and Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue, and it caused serious traffic congestion after working hours. In addition, since all the survivors tried to call their families all at once, phone connections were down.

Around ten helicopters circled around the accident site until late at night to deal with possible emergencies.