APB News (New York City) Monday, January 6, 2014 – A weather-related transformer vault explosion shook Midtown Manhattan this afternoon sending flames shooting into the air and pedestrians scrambling to get out of the way.
The explosion and resulting fire sent a thick plume of black smoke in the air near the Time Life building on 51st Street and Sixth Avenue. The fire broke out after 2 PM and was under control by 4:30 PM the NYFD.
Officials evacuated some floors of 140 West 51st Street due to concerns over high levels of carbon monoxide in the smoke.
APB cameras on site saw the the flames shoot as high as 12 feet on 51st Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, just a block away from the Radio City Music Hall.
One person was injured and some 1,500 people were evacuated from 140 West 51st Street due to high levels of smoke and carbon monoxide.
The fire was caused by snow melting with salt, which shorted out the transformer, Con Ed said.
As fire crews worked quickly to put of the fire, the flames turned to smoke. But about an hour later, the fire restarted, sending bright orange flames several feet into the air – caught by APB News cameras.
NYFD Battalion Chief Mark Forrest told APB News confirmed that salt from t the recent snow storms caused an underground transformer to blow.