- Rima Abdelkader via Twitter
The New York Fire Department summoned all hands to respond to a commercial fire in multiple manholes near Manhattan’s iconic Union Square and Strand bookstore on Friday morning.
New York Emergency Management warned commuters to “expect extensive traffic delays in the area of Broadway & E 12th Street.”
Reports of the fire started coming in just before 8 a.m. ET.
Witnesses in the area – including broadcast journalist Rima Abdelkader – used social media to report loud blasts coming from the manholes.
Abdelkader reported that a manhole erupted while a fire truck was parked on top of it.
Eruptions were strong enough to ring her ears and shake nearby buildings, Abdelkader said.
New York’s Pix 11 local news reported that firefighters were seen walking through the Strand bookstore but that no flames were visible. Live footage from the scene streamed on its website showed no active fires as of 8:55 a.m., but it did show firefighters cleaning up debris and broken glass from nearby buildings.
— Rima Abdelkader (@RimaKader) March 31, 2017