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

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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John Sexton 8:40 PM on September 21, 2023