Steam pipe explosion in Flatiron District

Most Buildings Closed By Manhattan Steam Pipe Explosion Have Reopened

July 29, 2018 - 11:54 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- Most of the buildings closed due to a steam pipe explosion in Manhattan last week have been reopened, city officials said Saturday.

Of the 45 buildings evacuated for asbestos testing, 39 have been cleared for residents and business owners to return, officials said. Crews are still working to clean out the remaining six buildings.

The city Department of Environmental Protection collected over 1,800 air samples in the area to test for asbestos and determined that the air is safe for the public.

On July 19, an aging Con Edison pipe containing cancer-causing asbestos exploded in the area, sending a geyser of white vapor 10 stories high.

The blast caused street closures and the evacuation of hundreds of people, but no major injuries.

Similar explosions over the year have drawn attention to the aging infrastructure beneath the streets of the nation's largest city. Officials said the pipe that blew was installed in 1932.

More than 100 miles of steam pipe run beneath Manhattan, delivering vapor that powers heating and cooling systems, among other functions, in thousands of buildings.

The pipes share the crowded underground with subway tunnels, electric cable, and water pipes.