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OK, who was it?

Noel Member Posts: 177


  • I just KNOW one of youse was involved! ;)

    By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer
    21 minutes ago

    NEW YORK - A steam explosion tore through a Manhattan street near Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday during the evening rush hour, sending residents running for cover amid a plume of steam.

    New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said it was not terrorism related. There was no immediate word on injuries. Subway service was suspended because of the explosion.

    A geyser of steam, sometimes white and sometimes muddy brown, shot into the air from a gaping hole in the street near the train station and was as high as the nearby Chrysler Building. The air near the site was filled with debris.

    Heiko H. Thieme, an investment banker in midtown, had mud splattered on his face, pants and shoes. He said the explosion was like a volcano.

    "Everybody was a bit confused, everybody obviously thought of 9-11."

    Darryl Green, who works with AT&T, said he could feel the buildings shake, so he and his colleagues dashed down 30 flights of stairs.

    "As we came out onto the street, the whole street was dark with smoke," he said.

    Thousands of commuters evacuated the train terminal, some at a run, after workers yelled for people to get out of the building.

    A small school bus was abandoned just feet from the spot where the jet spewed from the ground.

    Millions of pounds of steam are pumped beneath New York City streets every hour, heating and cooling thousands of buildings, including the Empire State Building.

    The steam pipes are sometimes prone to rupture, however. In 1989, a gigantic steam explosion ripped through a street, killing three people and sending mud and debris several stories into the air.

    That explosion was caused by a condition known as "water hammer," the result of condensation of water inside a steam pipe.

    (Now THAT'S some serious water hammer!)


    Associated Press writers Eric Vora and Richard Pyle contributed to this report.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    I was just checking out the footage on the news. Pretty amazing watching that steam blow up from the road.

    Hey Paul and JohnNY, are you guys going to run down there and put some duct tape on it?
  • They say...

    it was a 20" steam main that let go. Pretty amazing is right, it looks like there's a geyser in the middle of Manhattan. Anybody know what pressure they run?
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Natural gas would erupt in balls of fire

    I believe New York's steam is set at 130 PSI throughout the system - no low pressure sub piping - this makes this steam highly useful for air conditioning. One of few pressure regulating points is located near Grand Central

    Note that pressure has not much to do with water hammer, a simple slug of water collapsing onto a vacuum will cause pipe busting ravages. This is the scenario encountered so easily during the warm up and initial steam filling of the pipes. Summer repairs and main valves and drain valves casually opened and closed during what could seem a routine maintenance job are dangerously left to the untrained. (Note, that I have no idea of what may have happened in NY today)

    Also, pressurized hot water district heat is no safer either. To the water hammer problems and the pressurization, you also add cavitation problems, a whole other layer of frights. Steam is suffocating, water is scalding and if we'd all live in Hawaii, we'd need neither.

  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 552

  • Update

    Sorry to hear there was a death and injuries. :(

    By Claudia Parsons and John Doran
    Wed Jul 18, 8:42 PM ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - An underground steam pipe exploded in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, shaking buildings, creating a towering geyser of debris and sending pedestrians fleeing in scenes reminiscent of the September 11 attacks.

    Officials in New York and Washington promptly ruled out a terrorist attack. One person died and about 20 people were injured, some seriously, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

    "The big fear that we have is there may or may not have been asbestos released," Bloomberg said.

    Boiling, brownish water and steam gushed geyser-like at least 120 feet high out of a crater about 20 feet

    wide on Lexington Avenue at 41st Street, one of the busiest areas of New York City near the Grand Central transportation hub.

    The scene looked as if buildings were collapsing in a billow of debris as they did on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan was destroyed.

    "We ran down 43 floors thinking we were going to die," said Megan Fletcher, 35, who works for an Australian company in the Chrysler Building. "It looked like when the buildings collapsed on 9/11."

    Police at the scene also raised the concern of asbestos being strewn into the air. Rescue workers and those covered in the debris were being decontaminated at the scene by hazardous materials specialists.

    "It was a steam pipe rupture right before 6 p.m. We're in the process of isolating the pipeline, assessing for possible collateral damage," said Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesman for power utility Consolidated Edison.

    It was the latest public embarrassment for ConEd, which is under scrutiny for power blackouts.

    The pipe of 24 inches in diameter was installed in 1924, Bloomberg told a news conference, and may have burst because cold water somehow entered it.


    Pedestrians sprinted from the scene, many with cell phones glued to their ears, some crying. Some were covered in white ash and soot, others in mud. A small, yellow school bus stood by, badly damaged by the geyser.

    The blast shook buildings and broke windows up to 10 stories high on Lexington Avenue.

    The geyser was contained about 90 minutes afterward, revealing a truck stuck in the crater.

    "There was steam and mud coming up to the 12th floor," said Doron Sher, 29, a real estate broker who works on the 12th floor of a building next to the explosion. "We thought it's like a bomb or hurricane."

    "It looked like the World Trade Center had exploded. I saw rocks and pebbles coming down. As I was running I got pelted in the head by rocks and concrete. Steam came up and then the ground started breaking up," said Reggie Evans, an office administrator who was covered in mud.

    Authorities evacuated a wide area including the emblematic Chrysler Building.

    The blast created havoc at rush hour. Nearly 200 firefighters rushed to the scene, which was crowded with ambulances and fire engines. People wore masks to avoid breathing pollutants.

    Kwang Choi, 57, was working at a laundromat one block away when the explosion occurred. "People just kept running. People were saying a building collapsed," he said. "I looked outside -- huge smoke, just like 9/11. I just ran."

    Said 50-year-old computer worker Azad Mohamed: "Of course, the first thing you think about is terrorism. It's pretty scary."

  • Barbarossa
    Barbarossa Member Posts: 89
    Ah,The big apple

    Quite typical for the Big Apple just not on such a scale. Having been a steam troglodyte as a kid you see stuff like this or the potential for this. Occasionally when the tunnel floods the insulation saturates heat loss goes way up and starts condensing at a rate greater then the trapping can handle or it cruds up and trap fails shut. Then the water slug is accelerated to a turn usually an elevation change and the pipe or fittings separate.Depending on location back then you could have 180 - 200 psig steam in the east 40's.Between the gas leaks Con Ed's powerlines in the tunnels Manholes would pop on a regular schedule. The standing joke was that visitors could keep any manhole cover they could catch.

  • JoeV_2
    JoeV_2 Member Posts: 43
    How big

    are these boilers?

    And what is the purpose for the steam?
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    Think of it as a large central plant. The steam is sold to many buildings in NY. It is used for heat and hot water, though I'm sure there are many other uses.
  • JoeV_2
    JoeV_2 Member Posts: 43

    How do they charge for the steam? fixed cost or meters. I've seen these plants while growing up in NYC and have seen steam vented from manholes but never really knew the purpose. I've heard everything from to keep sewer pipes from freezing to killing rats.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    I'm pretty sure it's meters, but someone must know a lot more than I do. Dan?
  • Noel
    Noel Member Posts: 177
    They meter the condensate.

    Then it gets dumped down the drain.

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,525
    How big?

    This is from the Library

    ConEd boiler
    Retired and loving it.
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    Oh MY!!!

    That is BIG...Isn't it?

    Hey Dan..is that you at table 2 left center? Just kidding! Chris
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,525

    like Jack Nicholson in that last scene in The Shining.
    Retired and loving it.
  • LOL...

    Wow! Nice article Dan, thanks!
  • Hvacman
    Hvacman Member Posts: 159

    Here in Boston, they (Trigen, now Johnson Controls) meter the vapor... The condensate still goes down the drain. The system here is much smaller, I've only worked in one building on district steam, Symphony Hall.
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