The scene following a steam pipe explosion in the Flatiron district.

Juliet Papa/1010 WINS

Most buildings reopened after steam pipe explosion in Manhattan

July 29, 2018 - 11:47 am
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- Most of the buildings closed due to a steam pipe explosion in the Flatiron District last week have been reopened, city officials said Saturday.

Of the 45 buildings cleared for asbestos testing, 39 have been reopened to residents and business owners, officials said. Crews are still working to clean out the remaining six buildings.

The city Department of Environmental Protection collected over 1,800 air samples in the area to test for asbestos residue, but determined that the air is safe for the public.

On July 19, an aging Con Edison pipe containing cancer-causing asbestos exploded in the area, sending a geyser of white vapor 10 stories high.

The blast caused street closures and the evacuation of hundreds of people, but no one was majorly injured.

Similar explosions over the year have drawn attention to the aging infrastructure beneath the streets of the nation's largest city. Officials said the pipe that blew was installed in 1932.

More than 100 miles of steam pipe run beneath Manhattan, delivering vapor that powers heating and cooling systems, among other functions, in thousands of buildings.

The pipes share the crowded underground with subway tunnels, telecommunications and electric cable, and water pipes.