[UPDATE BELOW] Early this morning Twitter was peppered with users who reported seeing a massive explosion and a spectacular fire in south Brooklyn (some with video). According to the FDNY those "UFO" flashes came from a transformer explosion on a barge in Sunset Park. The call for the fire came in at 12:57 a.m., and firefighters had to use foam to neutralize the blaze, which wasn't brought under control until 2:50 a.m.
Here's the fire from Lower Manhattan:
And Battery Park:
The transformer appears to be owned and operated by the Astoria Generating Company, L.P., a subsidiary of US Power Generating Company. According to a company release, Astoria Generating operates facilities in Astoria, and off the Gowanus Bay, and the Narrows strait, with a total capacity of 2,100 megawatts, enough to serve 20% of the city's overall power needs.
The FDNY spokesman added that a fuel leak on the barge added to the blaze. A call to a representative for US Power Generating Company has not been returned.
[UPDATE] John Reese, a senior VP at US Power Generating Company, confirmed the incident at the company's Narrows facility. "We have two power-generating, floating barges, one of them caught fire and was temporarily offline." According to Reese, no oil leaked out during the blaze. "There were no injuries and no environmental discharge. We're still assessing the damage and investigating the cause of the fire, which could take some time."