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Monday, December 22, 2008

release from Clinton Hill manhole explosion, press conference

A press conference on the underground explosion that ripped open the sidewalk at Washington Av and Lafayette Av in Clinton Hill was held to address the lack of information released in the incident involving Con Ed equipment.

Details are below as well as these photos from the Clinton Hill blog which first reported the accident.

Photo from Clinton Hill Blog

December 22, 2008

Manhole explosion in Clinton Hill this past Friday

Council Member Letitia James, elected officials, and residents will come together to discuss the manhole explosion in Clinton Hill, at the site of this dangerous incident on Washington Ave. at corner of Lafayette Ave., this Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, at 2:45 pm

Brooklyn, NY - The blast that occurred in the heart of Clinton Hill could be heard and felt across the neighborhood this past Friday evening / Saturday morning. The explosion was loud and frightening, and numerous fire trucks lined Washington Avenue immediately following the explosion.

Although the sidewalk was destroyed and possible damage caused to the Underwood Playground located near this site, as well as two residences that lost power, fortunately, no injuries were recorded. The lack of communication from Con Edison with elected officials and residents about the explosion is unacceptable (aside from residents whose homes had to be searched because of the blast, and the 23 people temporarily evacuated that night). Also, improved coordination with Con Edison and the Department of Sanitation should be made a top priority as this holiday season begins.

The winter season is prime time for incidents like this to happen – specifically post snowstorm. Manhole fires and explosions are caused by salty runoff from the streets that leak into the manholes and transformer vaults. The salt eats the insulation producing an explosive/flammable gas; the wires short out and spark, which then becomes the source of the ignition. If the manhole covers are older, the blast may put up enough pressure to turn them into cast iron Frisbees (newer manhole covers are made with vents to release pressure from harmful/explosive gases). Lastly, fire and carbon monoxide can make its way into nearby properties, specifically if the building’s electric service enters through an underground conduit.

WHAT: Press conference to discuss manhole explosions and improved coordination by Con Edison
WHEN: Tuesday, December 23rd, at 2:45 pm
WHERE: Washington Avenue at the corner of Lafayette Avenue

***** End of Release *******

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