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11 Buildings Evacuated After Steam Pipe Explodes In Flatiron District

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A steam pipe exploded on Fifth Avenue and 21st Street this morning, sending chunks of street asphalt into the air and prompting the emergency evacuation of nearby buildings and street closures. Update, 5 p.m.: The steam pipe, from 1932, was lined with asbestos, which was then spewed into the air during the blast.

The explosion occurred around 6:40 a.m. The Fire Department has not yet released details, but initial reports indicate no one has been injured. Update, 9:05 a.m.: The FDNY confirms there are no reported injuries so far.

WNYC reports that Con Ed "has multiple crews on scene working to isolate the affected piping and locate the cause of the explosion."

According to WABC 7, "The blast blew a large hole in the middle of Fifth Avenue, sending chunks of asphalt into the street. Eyewitness News has learned multiple manholes exploded from West 19th Street to West 21st Street."

One man also told the station that the building shook when the explosion occurred.

The R and W train is bypassing 23rd Street:

Check MTA.info and @NYCTsubway for the latest.

On July 18, 2007, a steam pipe near Grand Central Terminal exploded, killing a woman. At the time, Mayor Bloomberg called it a "failure" of the city's infrastructure. A driver and his passenger miraculously survived the blast, even though the steam pipe that exploded was right under his truck.

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