Manholes on West Houston Street near Sullivan have exploded, creating a smoky, chaotic scene. Windows are blown out and civilians are panicking. Firefighters, police, Con Ed and other rescue workers are everywhere.

Jake just went down to the scene-- it's total chaos. Houston is shutdown from Laguardia to 6th Avenue, traffic being diverted. Pedestrians are gawking behind fire lines on the corners of Thompson and Sullivan. A smokey fire is still raging in the manhole on Sullivan and Houston-- firefighters are lined up and waiting to put it out until Con Ed turns off the electricity. Smoke is rising five stories in the air, and a few helicopters are circling overhead. One of the ladies standing nearby said it sounded like a huge explosion-- she said she thought it was a terrorist attack. Electricity is out in the buildings along Sullivan Street-- as far south as The Room. Don't plan on getting Pepe Rosso tonight!

BNN is saying that one person was hurt by the shattered glass, and the windows at 47 Macdougal were damaged. 181 Sullivan and 146 West Houston were checked by firefighters and declared clear.

NYCJournal has a couple of more pictures from the scene: