2007 New York City Steam Explosion
The July 18, 2007 New York City steam explosion sent a geyser of hot steam up from beneath a busy intersection, with a 40-story-high shower of mud and flying debris raining down on the crowded streets of Midtown Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. It was caused by the failure of a Consolidated Edison 24-inch underground steam pipe installed in 1924, at 41st Street and Lexington Avenue, near Grand Central Terminal, just before 6 p.m. local time, near the peak of the evening rush hour. The towering cloud of billowing steam, higher than the nearby 1,047-foot (319 m)-tall Chrysler Building, persisted for at least two hours, leaving a crater about 35 feet (10 m) wide and 15 feet (4 m) deep.
The escaping steam shook nearby office buildings, causing many occupants to immediately evacuate. A 51-year-old New Jersey woman, who worked a block from the site, died of a heart attack suffered while fleeing the disaster area. 45 people were injured, with two injured critically. The most seriously injured victims were a 23-year-old tow truck driver from Brooklyn, who was scalded over 80 percent of his body by the 400 °F (204 °C) steam and had to be put in a medically-induced coma, and his passenger, a 30-year-old woman, who was being driven back to Brooklyn after her car broke down. A witness reported that the tow truck was lifted 12 feet (4 m) by the escaping steam, higher than a nearby city bus.
Initial fears that the cause was terrorist related were quickly allayed by statements by mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials shortly after the event.
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