Times Square Fears Turn To Carbon Monoxide


times-square-explosion1Hundreds of Manhattan residents were awaiting the all-clear Tuesday night. A transformer fire right in the middle of 52nd Street triggered a chain reaction that shot manhole covers into the air earlier in the afternoon.

The problem now is dangerous gas levels.

Four buildings, impacting 400 people, were under an evacuation. Carbon monoxide levels were very high in those buildings and emergency crews were to remain on the scene throughout the night.

Earlier in the day fire poured out from below.

“It was just chaos,” one person said.

And multiple explosions could be heard.

“Just a very loud bang,” another person said.

One after the other multiple manhole explosions rocked Times Square. One actually tore the pavement to shreds.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries. A Con Edison worker was also hurt.

The underground electrical fire spread west on 52nd Street, causing the blasts and the evacuations. Firefighters raced into four buildings.

“They just asked us to come downstairs, everybody, and evacuate the building,” one resident said.

The Novotel Hotel took the brunt of it. The three-alarm fire that followed spread from the street to the cellar of the hotel. While the flames were brought under control in the basement, carbon monoxide spread quickly.

“They had high levels of carbon monoxide in the cellar and stairways of the lower floors of the hotel,” FDNY Deputy Chief Jay Jonas said

Dangerous levels were detected up to the seventh floor of the hotel.

Also evacuated were 15 children from the Times Square Church Day Care center. Worried parents raced over to make sure they got out safely.

“A lot of the parents went down to pick up their kids and the staff was on alert,” Luly McCoy said.

Emergency work will go on as crews worked through the night from 50th to 53rd streets along Broadway.

{WCBSTV/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}