New York City blast causes panic

Officials say explosion from underground steam pipe not a terrorist attack.

    Witnesses said they felt buildings shake and reported
    panic in scenes reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks [EPA]
    Heiko Thieme, a banker, said the explosion was like a volcano.
    "Everybody was a bit confused, everybody obviously thought of 9/11," he said.
    Michael Bloomberg, the city's mayor, said at the scene of the blast: "There is no reason to believe whatsoever that this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure."
    Subway service was suspended because of the explosion.
    Besides the immediate chaos, there were also concerns about what was being spewed into the air.
    A steam pipe explosion near Gramercy park in 1989 that killed three people spewed loads of asbestos into the air - a fact that the Con Edison utility company later admitted it concealed for days while residents were exposed.
    Con Edison workers were at the scene, as were police wearing gas masks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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