Asbestos has been confirmed in the steam pipe that exploded in Manhattan.
On Thursday morning, a steam pipe exploded in the Flatiron district. The explosion produced thick smoke and debris that contained asbestos. Locals fear that the asbestos could have contaminated clothes or been pulled into buildings through the air conditioning.
Local buildings were evacuated. A total of 49 buildings needed to be occupant-free until the area could be deemed safe. Residents could be displaced as long as a few days from their homes. Approximately, 500 people were displaced and Con Edison plans on paying for accommodations through their claims process.
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Luckily, no one was seriously injured by the blast. Only five people received treatment for minor injuries.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown. The Department of Public Service is currently investigating.
People who were nearby during the blast were told to shower, bag their clothes, and bring them to stations set up in the area for testing.
Mayor de Basio was quoted in the New York Times saying, "We're going to work from an abundance of caution. Now that we know there's asbestos present, we're not going to cut any corners. We're going to be very thorough."
When the explosion occurred, 100 firefighters responded and needed to be treated for asbestos exposure in the two decontamination centers set up in the city.
New York City has one of the largest steam systems in the world that delivers heating and cooling to buildings in the area. There are 100 miles of steam pipe beneath the city.