manhole explosion in NYC
© Broadway Dance Center
Boom! The manhole cover unexpectedly explodes, making Debressey scream - the sound of glass shattering is heard

New Yorkers ran for cover as manhole covers rained down on a busy city street on Friday at lunch time when three manholes exploded into a fiery flame just feet from each other.

The explosions all rocked the corner of 45th and 9th Avenue on Manhattan's West Side around noon.

Lea Debressey, who was on her way to dance class, managed to take video with her cell phone just as one manhole cover burst into a jet of fire. 'It was really scary. It was shocking, this explosion,' she told PIX 11.


A second explosion blew out a fifth floor window at the Film Center building and the third manhole blowout sent a metal cover over 15 feet into the air, where it then fell and knocked out part of a fire hydrant.

No one was hurt during the triple manhole cover explosion. 'It's a miracle no one got hurt. It could have been a lot worse,' said Ritchie Christian, who was working nearby when he heard the deafening explosions.

NYC manhole explosion damages fire hydrant

Yet another manhole explosion rocketed a thick metal cover 15 feet into the air and it came down and hit this fire hydrant (pictured)

Con Ed officials think underground electrical problems sparked the manhole blasts, possibly from the heavy volume of electricity being used during an August heatwave.

But manhole cover explosions are actually fairly common in the city - several manhole explosions rocked West 35th Street and Eighth Avenue only four months ago, according to PIX 11.