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4 people injured in Manhole explosion in Manhattan

1 building super and 5 firefighters were injured in a manhole explosion in New York. The incident happened Wednsday morning on East 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue in the Flatiron district. According to the FDNY, a pair of smoking manholes led to gas build-up and resulting explosion in a cellar of 6 East 32nd Street.  According to residents, heavy smoke started to come out of two manholes a little before 10:00 am. An hour later one of them exploded. People in the neighborhood said the explosion was really loud then the electricity went off in the nearest buildings.

High level of carbon monoxide recorded

After Con Ed emergency crews and firefighters arrived at the scene of the accident, they evacuated three buildings as they found high levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide levels were also checked in several other buildings nearby. Electric power was cut in the area. Traffic was shut down on East 32nd Street and East 33rd street between Sixth Avenue and Madison Avenue.

100 firefighters were called to the rescue to fight the underground fire that burned for several hours. Firefighters received a call at 9:47 about the fire. When they arrived at the scene they found multiple manholes on fire. They began to investigate the surrounding buildings for any type of gas leaks. As they were investigating one of the buildings a flash explosion occurred  injuring 6 firefighters and the super of the building. All 6 were transported to the hospital to be treated for non life threatening injuries. The building located at 6 East 32nd Street was one of the buildings evacuated for high levels of carbon monoxide. One of the other buildings evacuated was the Chelsea Day School.

The fire started in the wiring and investigation is ongoing to define the exact cause of the accident. So far Con ed only told media that the official cause was equipment failure.

Read more on NBC New York