New York, New York (My9NJ) –
600 manholes have either caught fire or exploded in the past week in New York City.
One man was severely injured in one incident in Brooklyn. A blast sent a cover 25 feet into the air, hitting hitting the victim on the head.
In another incident, a car was scorched after flames came out of a manhole under the car.
Con. Ed. says the number of explosions is actually down. There were 795 fires or explosions last month compared to 795 last January.
Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesperson for Con Edison, explained that these explosions tend to occur when road salt melts and comes in contact with underground wires.
“Sometimes when the salt runs into a manhole, it can cause a fire or smoking condition or an explosion,” Quiroz says. “Often times what it does is it will create some sort of gas and that is actually when the gas is built up that’s actually what happens when the manhole cover is lifted off of the manhole because there’s so much gas built up in there.”
Quiroz says underground wires are a big problem. The salt corrodes them and they ignite when exposed to the carbon monoxide.
Con Edison says it is working to replace the wire covers to reduce the risk of fires and explosions.