Witnesses recount violent explosions from manholes in Midtown

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Witnesses Recount Violent Manhole Explosions in NYC

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — It's not often you see a smoking manhole explode right before your eyes.

But dancer Lea Debressey, on her way to dance class at Broadway Dance Center, whipped out her cellphone to capture a video.

"It was really scary. It was shocking, this explosion," Lea Debressey, took video. "It was like fireworks that don't work, that just explode," her friend Thibault Delaunay, her friend also told PIX 11.

Click through for more images of the crazy explosion:

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Fire blasts through manhole cover
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Witnesses recount violent explosions from manholes in Midtown
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Three manhole explosions in quick succession's on the corner of 45th and 9th Avenue starting just before noon tied up traffic for hours.

The second explosion blew out a fifth floor window at the Film Center building on the corner and the third manhole explosion sent a manhole cover over 15 feet into the air, landing and destroying part of this fire hydrant.

"The manhole cover apparently went up as high as the Film Center and then smashed into this fire hydrant," Patrick McCarthy, an eyewitness, said.

Con Ed said the likely cause is that underground cables overheated and caught fire, possibly because of energy demands during the hot weather.

It was a series of explosions many on this busy corner won't soon forget.

"It's a miracle no one got hurt. It could have been a lot worse." Ritchie Christian, who was working in the third floor Aspira officer on the corner, said.

Akhila Anthony, a worker at the Healthy Corner said "I will never forget my first manhole explosion."

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