Open thread: The great steam pipe explosion of 2007; Update: One dead? Update: Explosion video added

posted at 7:40 pm on July 18, 2007 by Allahpundit

Wall to wall coverage of this crap on Fox right now. Is it insignificant because it’s insignificant or is it insignificant because I’ve had eight beers? Read Ed Driscoll‘s coverage and Danger Room‘s on-the-scene dispatch and decide for yourself.

Lest this thread go to waste, I offer you video of a recent White Stripes concert in its entirety. Rawk.

Update: It may have been an accident but it was a fatal one, according to MSNBC. NY1 has details:

Officials say a large steam pipe exploded underground, which then reportedly led to the explosion of a nearby transformer…

“I saw a bus fly through the air and slam into the ground,” said a third witness. “Debris and smoke kept billowing out of the ground.”

Local news sources are reporting that some people were lying in the street injured. Officials say that they are investigating possible asbestos in the air.

The locals freaked out, understandably:

Heiko H. Thieme, an investment banker in Midtown, had mud splattered on his face, pants and shoes. He said the explosion was like a volcano.

“Everybody was a bit confused, everybody obviously thought of 9-11.”…

Darryl Green, who works with AT&T, said he could feel the buildings shake, so he and his colleagues dashed down 30 flights of stairs. “As we came out onto the street, the whole street was dark with smoke,” he said.

A small school bus was abandoned just feet from the spot where the jet spewed from the ground.

Debbie Tontodonato, 40, a manager for Clear Channel Outdoor, said she thought the rumble from the explosion was thunder.

“I looked out the window and I saw these huge chunks that I thought were hail,” she said. “We panicked, I think everyone thought the worst, thank God it wasn’t. It was like a cattle drive going down the stairs, with everyone pushing. I almost fell down the stairs.”

Update: Pretty impressive.

Update: Reader Eric McLaughlin was on the scene and e-mails:

I was north on Lexington Ave, having just crossed 39th St, when the explosion occurred. The ground erupted a block in front of me, like something from a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. The explosion went straight up, very little seemed to go to the sides. Time seemed to slow down. I actually saw the street bulging up toward me like something was rising from below. I thought it might keep coming down Lexington. It felt like it was coming straight at me, but that might have been my imagination.

I took cover in a store. I figured it’d be better to put something between me and the explosion instead of running straight down Lex. No one can outrun an explosion, no matter what Hollywood thinks. My first thought was a gas explosion, but if it was I wouldn’t be writing this. I, and a few others, ran through the store, out the back, and into a courtyard in the center of the block.

I waited until I was sure the explosion wouldn’t daisy-chain down the street. A deafening, continous rumble made me wonder if a building was coming down. When the sky didn’t fall around me, I decided to get out of there. I walked back into the store, and saw the street hadn’t exploded either. Looking up Lexington, I saw white smoke, actually steam, blasting up from the street. I ran out the store and down Lexington, away from the geyser.

Here’s a photo. It really does look like 9/11.


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Maybe Allapundit should stop drinking beer if it makes him this cranky.


Buy Danish on July 19, 2007 at 1:49 AM

I hope i wasn’t the only one to think about “those” transformers when i heard the news.

madne0 on July 19, 2007 at 3:02 AM

Since I work at night, it doesn’t seem as socially acceptable to drink a beer or two when I get home at 7 am. Did that once on the front porch one glorious spring day a few years ago until the school bus came by. But what I really want to know is exactly why do they have huge underground steam pipes in NYC? Those things could be dangerous you know.

Buzzy on July 19, 2007 at 4:40 AM

Newcastle? Must be something not available in flyover country.

steveegg on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Stop it. I live outside of Chicago, and the Nut Brown Ale is plentiful, happily. wherestherum, if you like Guinness, you’ll love Newcastle.

Jaibones on July 19, 2007 at 7:15 AM

I came for a quick beer, and to see if Patterico was hiding here. I guess not.

He lit a fire down the hall, waiting to see who would run in, and then ran away acting surprised. Go figure.

Jaibones on July 19, 2007 at 7:16 AM

It really shows you how terrorism works

tomas on July 19, 2007 at 7:32 AM

An opportunity for fred? to lobby against asbestos victims again.

csdeven on July 19, 2007 at 1:01 AM

This isn’t even a Fred thread.

Speaking of Newcastle, I’ve heard of it but only drink beer when I don’t want to drink. I’ve never been able to drink enough beer to impair my driving.

Now if you want to talk vodka, I can do that.

Esthier on July 19, 2007 at 10:32 AM

I don’t care what anyone says. After 9/11, had I witnessed that, I’d have dropped a large brick in my tighty-whities.

JinxMcHue on July 19, 2007 at 10:41 AM

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