Manhole explosion causes gas, power outages in Kingsbridge


Updated 3:01 p.m. 10/14/11

A Thursday morning cable fire caused a small manhole explosion just feet away from the 50th Precinct and left much of Kingsbridge Avenue, between West 236th and West 238th streets, without power for more than 12 hours.

Power was restored around 2 p.m. on Thursday and the block, which was closed to through-traffic all day on Thursday, was re-opened Friday morning.

Mike Berry, a Kingsbridge resident who witnessed the explosion from down the block, said flames were shooting out of the ground.

“The lights on the car wash started flickering, then the bulbs on the diner started flickering … and then down the block, just past the intersection, boom. It had green and blue and red sparks and everything coming out,” Mr. Berry said. “Literally, within three minutes, you had six, maybe seven, FDNY [trucks].”

A Con Ed representative said electricity will likely be restored by the end of the day, but did not comment on when gas service will restored. Chris Marche, who lives at 3605 Kingsbridge Ave., said he was told there would be no gas for at least two days but added that mild temperatures made the situation bearable.

"I'm glad it's not the coldest day of the year or the hottest day," Mr. Marche said. "In terms of losing power and gas it's convenient."

A Con Edison employee at the scene said that at 1:41 a.m. Thursday morning, a shorted feeder cable caused the explosion, which burst through a manhole.

The Five-O was unaffected but residents of 3605 Kingsbridge Ave. and 11 businesses on the block, including the Riverdale Diner, Domino’s Pizza and T and Y Wines and Spirits, had no power or gas.

While the two eateries are closed, a clerk at T and Y Wines and Spirits said the store stayed open on Thursday even though the store was dark.