A series of manhole fires caused multiple loud explosions near New York City’s iconic Times Square on Sunday and sent crowds of people running.
While footage of the explosions themselves was not immediately visible, videos emerged on social media on Sunday, showing hundreds or even thousands of people running away from the sound of the blasts.
The sound of explosions could be heard in several videos taken by bystanders. In one video, a woman could be seen listening to the sounds of sirens from emergency vehicles working near Times Square. After several seconds, an explosion could be heard and the woman then took off running in the other direction, while wondering aloud what had happened.
Another video showed dozens of people running down the street after the blasts.
Footage taken from above the square showed the moment hundreds of people who had been standing around Times Square’s Red Steps turned and fled.
NBC New York reported a trio of blasts had occurred between 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue just before 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Fire officials told the New York Post that the firefighters responded to three manhole fires after the explosion occurred on Sunday.
Firefighters also found elevated levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in a cellar on 229 W. 43rd St., located within a block of Times Square.
Con Edison, an energy company in New York City, told the New York Post that the explosion was caused by a cable failure.
CO is a flammable gas and, following Sunday’s explosion, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) warned that it can be deadly and can contribute to manhole fires and even lead to explosions.
“CO is deadly, and in the case of a manhole fire, CO accumulation may potentially lead to an explosion,” FDNY tweeted. “If you see a manhole that is smoking, don’t hesitate, call 911 right away.”
No one was injured in the three blasts, but NBC New York reported two police officers were taken to a hospital after experiencing ringing in their ears.