Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brooklyn Heights Manhole Cover Explosions: Crews Work Into the Night

Well into the evening, emergency repair crews worked at the scene of Monday's spectacular manhole explosions on Joralemon Street at Willow Place in Brooklyn Heights. The general picture we've gathered from the sources listed below and from word on the street is that National Grid subcontractors, installing gas service at 25 Willow Place, struck an electrical line causing several manholes to explode near the transit substation on Joralemon Street.

Those plugged into the Notify NYC system received alerts all afternoon about the explosions and disruptions to the 2,3,4 and 5 trains at Borough Hall Station. (The alerts, issued by the Office of Emergency Management, worked pretty well we thought.)

- Notification 1 was issued at 1:21 p.m.:. "Emergency personnel are on the scene of multiple manhole fires near Joralemon Street and State Street in Downtown Brooklyn."

- Notification 2 was issued at 2:04 p.m.: "Previous manhole fires at Joralemon Street and Columbia Place have delayed or rerouted the 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains."

- The next notification was issued at 3:45 p.m.: "Due to previous manhole fires in Brooklyn the following area is closed to vehicles: Joralemon Street to State Street from Garden Place to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway."

- At 6 p.m. we received the final alert: "The MTA advises that the 2, 3, 4, and 5 subway lines have resumed normal service."

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, about 10 Joralemon Street and Willow Place homes were evacuated. We heard one woman on her cellphone, telling her shocked husband that they might have to spend the night at the nearby church (we're assuming St. Charles Borromeo?). Dangerous levels of gas were still being detected in some homes into the evening.

Gothamist has a good coverage of the day's events. Also visit: the Brooklyn Heights Blog for contributor photos, the Brooklyn Eagle and Yeshiva World News.

Finally, check out poster Bklyn20's comments on the Brooklyn Heights Blog. Bklyn20's points include: "National Grid et al must stop using upstate contractors on Brooklyn Hts jobs, unless they brief them first about the morass of water/electric/gas lines right under the pavement;" and

"Will this incident finally prove to the ESDC/BBPDC/DOT — to whomever is necessary — that Joralemon Street CANNOT be a vehicular entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park?"

UPDATE: The aftermath.

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

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