A mysterious roaring sound on the Upper East Side Tuesday night turned out to be from a Con Edison power plant releasing over 300 pounds of steam from a backed-up pipe, but residents were caught off guard by the sudden noise, and some became concerned enough to pack their bags and leave for the night.
Video posted to social media showed plumes of white steam billowing into the sky late in the evening, along with loud buzzing.
"Are people on Upper East Side OK? Deafening sound and smoke/steam??? About 73rd and York Ave it looks like," tweeted a woman nearby.
"Is it the Con Edison plant? It's insanely loud," tweeted one resident.
"I'm on Roosevelt Island and it's so loud I can barely hear myself talk," tweeted another.
"It's so loud over by 74th!" said another resident.
An insanely loud noise is covering Manhattan right now. Have no idea what it is but its deafening. pic.twitter.com/eXYaVg1YbI— Ben Patz (@BenPatz) January 25, 2017
Are people on upper east side ok? Deafening sound and smoke/ steam ???? About 73rd and york ave it looks like from my balcony pic.twitter.com/CaP5AGC6wA— Lydia Craigmyle (@HarmonyLight) January 25, 2017
"Sounds like an airplane taking off w/ steam shooting out," observed another woman.
Some residents were so shaken they packed their bags and left their buildings, prepared to stay elsewhere for the night.
"I have a friend who lives really close so we got our bags, packed just to go over to her place, just until we could hear something about this on the news," said one neighbor.
"It sounded like a helicopter was landing on top of our building. So we got freaked out, we all ran outside," she added.
Another woman in the area said, "I decided to go back inside and run and get at least our purse and our keys and a coat and start walking away."
Con Edison said a defective safety valve backed up a steam pipe at its plant at East 75th Street and York Avenue. The pipe released 310 pounds of steam, causing the steam to burst out with a loud bang.
No customers lost service, and no one was hurt. Repairs should be complete by late Tuesday night, Con Edison said.