Large swaths of Times Square were cleared out after a manhole explosion rocked Midtown Manhattan Sunday, police said.
The blast erupted in a manhole on W. 43rd St. near Seventh Ave. just after 6:45 p.m., FDNY and Con Edison officials said.
After the explosion — caused by a cable failure — a second and third manhole began smoking, a Con Edison spokesperson said.
Emergency responders blocked off and evacuated people at W. 43rd St. from Seventh to Eighth Aves. and Seventh Ave. from W. 46th St. down to W. 42nd St. as a precaution, police said.
Startled bystanders took off running when the fires erupted, a roasted nut vendor told The Daily News.
“It was like a big black cloud, that’s what it was like,” said the vendor, who gave his name as only Faris. “There was a lot of gravel all over the place. We all just ran.”
Video posted to Twitter shows the moment the manhole mayhem began, sending panic through the streets and people bolting from the Crossroads of the World.
Firefighters searching surrounding buildings found elevated carbon monoxide levels at an office building on W. 43rd St. near Seventh Ave. — which once housed The New York Times.
No one was injured, and the fires were out by 8:55 p.m., FDNY officials said. Once the flames were knocked down, the scene was turned over to Con Edison to investigate.
No Con Edison customers experienced outages, and crews continued to work at the scene late Sunday night, the company said.
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