So far, it appears that there were over 20 people injured, at least 1 death (a heart attack). An area surrounded by 43rd street to the north, 39th Street to the south and from Vanderbilt Ave. (just west of Grand Central Terminal) east to 3rd Avenue is closed to cars and people. They are continuing to test for asbestos although most - but not all - used to insulate the steam pipe systems was removed years ago so they have to play safe. So far no signs of asbestos problems. There is a tow truck in the crater from this incident. I would assume there is going to be a mess in the area for days, if not weeks. Let us hope there are no more reported deaths or injuries from this event. Of course, terror was suspected with this blast, but that dispelled in a matter of minutes. I wound note the area is close where one can get busses to the 3 metro airports.
I would note that there were very heavy rains in the morning today, it is possible that it may have leaked to the steam pipe and triggered a crack or softened the ground above the pipe to cause a crack too.
|Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 14):
Don't know too much about steam pipes. Do most big cities still use these for heating, etc?
NY City, mainly in Manhattan, has a significant steam line system. Originally, it used the leftover steam from coal and later oil burning electricity generating systems boilers to run the generator turbines. Some steam today is from electricity generation, but with some from specific steam production facilities. A number of larger buildings use the steam system as they then don't have to have their own boilers, with their individual needs for fuel, vent systems all of which would take up a lot of room in the buildings. Through the magic of thermodynamics, hot steam is also used to air condition these buildings! The steam is metered like natural gas and you pay a set price per 1000 cubic feet of steam.
[Edited 2007-07-19 03:52:38]