Union Square Manhole Fires Trigger 'Giant Explosion' & Evacuations

Multiple manhole fires and at least one "massive" explosion rocked the area near Union Square shortly before 8 a.m. this morning. The FDNY is currently on the scene, and some buildings are reportedly being evacuated due to high levels of carbon monoxide. East 12th Street is currently closed between Broadway and Fourth Avenue. An FDNY spokesperson said there were no injuries reported, and firefighters are still at the scene.

Rima Abdelkader was passing nearby on board a bus when the manholes exploded. "From what people heard, it sounded like a bomb. You felt it," Abdelkader told NBC NY. "I was listening to music and I still heard it. My right ear is hurting."

Abdelkader got off the bus and spoke with a firefighter who told her "a manhole blew as the fire truck sat atop it."

We'll update as more information becomes available. But there is typically an uptick in manhole fires every Spring as salt distributed to melt snow also corrodes electrical wiring insulation beneath the streets.

UPDATE: The explosions blew out a window at The Bean cafe at Broadway and 12th Street. sending broken glass raining down on the sidewalk, CBS 2 reports.

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