Con Edison Estimates It Has Responded to 200 Manhole Explosions Since Sunday

An early morning manhole fire caused officials to evacuate six buildings in Brooklyn Tuesday blocks from where a man was hit in the head by a flying manhole after a blast a day earlier, and Con Edison says it has responded to hundreds of similar blasts in the last three days alone.

No one was injured in Tuesday's fire, which started at about 4 a.m. Sixth Street in Park Slope, according to the FDNY.

According to the utility, manhole explosions this time of year are as common as snow because the salt used to treat icy roads corrodes underground wiring when it seeps below the surface. Con Edison said it has responded to at least 200 manhole explosions or fires since Sunday, though none have caused injuries like the one to a man walking his dog in Park Slope Monday.

The underground explosion Monday flung a manhole into the air near Prospect Park West between Fourth and Fifth streets and the man was hit in the head, authorities said. He was taken to the hospital. A second person was also injured when the blast shattered windows of her nearby home.

Con Edison said that ice-melting road salt seeped under the manhole cover, causing the blast, which witnesses said it could be heard and felt from as far as 10 blocks away.

A spokesperson for Con Edison said the utility is constantly working on new technology to limit the number of manhole fires. Employees continued to work Tuesday to repair the underground damage caused by the two fires in Park Slope, the latter of which engulfed a car in flames but caused no injuries.

"It's always surprising when no one is injured so if it's only a car ... it could have been much worse," said Fort Greene resident John Sirachi.

No updates on the conditions of the victims in Monday's manhole explosions were available Tuesday.  

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