Manhole cover explosion outside Peter Cooper Village, FDNY responds to gas smell in PCV

NYC manhole (Photo via Wikipedia)

NYC manhole (Photo via Wikipedia)

By Sabina Mollot

Residents who live on the east side of Peter Cooper Village heard a loud boom on Sunday evening, which, according to the ST-PCV Tenants Association, was due to a manhole cover exploding on Avenue C.

The Tenants Association, which posted about the incident on Facebook, said this led to some brownout conditions, including a stop in elevator service at 601 East 20th Street. In response, a resident of 6 Peter Cooper Road reported that firefighters responded to her building due to a strong smell of gas.

“We evacuated for a few hours and have returned. All seems fine,” resident Paula Veale added.

Meanwhile, Brian Moriarty, a rep for CWCapital, said the manhole incident, which occurred outside of PCV, only resulted in a flickering of lights, but no power outages. A spokesperson for Con Ed, Alfonso Quiroz, said the same and that he had no report of a manhole exploding. The utility had not gone to the scene to respond, he added.

However, TA President John Marsh, who heard the explosion from his building, called the sound “a very loud and distinctive percussion sound.”

The explosion occurred at 4:48 p.m., said Marsh, shortly after he left his apartment and was walking along East 20th Street at the equivalent of Avenue A. Not long before that, he’d noticed the lights in his apartment flickering. Then, when he returned home at around 8 p.m., the lights were flickering even more.

“There definitely was a brownout condition in the building,” he said. “Elevator service for both cabs were out. When I came up, my computer was down.”

The manhole, said Marsh, was located on the Avenue C northbound roadway just south of East 23rd Street and police closed off Avenue C north at East 20th Street. The police car was there until at least 1 a.m. on Monday, he added.

As for the gas odor in PCV, a rep for the FDNY said that firefighters were at 6 Peter Cooper Road at 5:06 p.m. to respond and that “Many people did self-evacuate.” The spokesperson added that the firefighters’ visit to Peter Cooper did “not warrant any more than a normal response.”

There were no injuries reported and the FDNY was gone by 6:23 p.m. The FDNY said it did not get any call from 601 East 20th Street and didn’t indicate if the gas at 6 Peter Cooper was related to any Con Ed activity.