On Wednesday, a steam pipe burst in Midtown Manhattan, killing one person and wounding around 25 others. During rush hour the pipe burst sending steam and dirt high into the sky. Many New Yorkers thought the explosion was a terrorist attack, but that theory was quickly ruled out.
The explosion left a large crater in the ground, and a red truck lay on the bottom. Many people were struck by falling asphalt and rocks. Other bystanders were covered in mud.
One woman died after the explosion, due to cardiac arrest. Another 15 were taken to Bellevue Hospital, were two people are in critical condition. The rest of the injured include some firefighters and a police officer.
Officials said the pipe might have exploded under pressure caused by an infiltration of cold rainwater, or might have been damaged by a water main break.
The main concern was that asbestos, which can cause fatal lung disease with prolonged exposure, would get into the air. The city’s Office of Emergency Management has tested the air said that six of ten samples of dust and debris tested positive for asbestos, but eight air samples taken from around the explosion had no trace of asbestos. Officials believe that long-term health problems are “unlikely”.
Engineers warned that that six feet around the crater was still in danger of further collapse. A zone of several blocks has been closed off for investigation and repair.