Throngs of terrified tourists took off running in Times Square Sunday after three manhole fires led to a loud blast that one nearby resident said shook her ‘whole apartment.’
Videos from the the scene show pedestrians dashing through the Crossroads of the World just before 7pm.
In a video posted to social media, a young woman films herself as crews respond to the manhole fires. The explosion is then heard and she begins to run.
‘What the f***?’ What the f*** was that?’
The FDNY did not reveal the reason for the manhole explosion but officials found elevated carbon monoxide levels at 229 West 43rd Street after the blast. High levels of the odorless and colorless gas, which can lead to brain damage or death, were likely caused by the entrapped manhole fires.
Firefighters were in the process of ‘venting and mitigating the cellar and sub-cellar of the location’ before they handed the scene over to utility companies by 9pm.
There were no injuries.
The explosion rattled an already jittery city that has seen crime skyrocket since the start of the pandemic. Overall crime is up 44.13 percent across the city from this time last year, with shooting victims up 14.5 percent.
Pedestrians run for their lives in Times Square on Sunday evening after a loud blast was heard
Video from the 24/7 EarthCam in the area shows Duffy Square packed with people on Sunday
The crowd quickly empties out of the Crossroads of the World after the inexplicable blast
One young woman who was recording the fire trucks in the area hears a loud bang and takes off running with the crowd nearby. Fire officials said they found three manholes on fire in the area. The cause of the fires was unknown
Overall crime in the city has risen 44 percent in the first three months of the year and police are now saying that hundreds of repeat offenders have been arrested at least three times
The blast took place as crowds were gathering outside theaters for Broadway shows in the popular tourist hub.
One video shows fearful crowds running down the sidewalk as others join in without knowing what’s really happening.
‘I don’t know what it is but…,’ a man says in one video ‘What is it? I heard something.’
The blast was likely caused by three manhole fires reported in the area, the FDNY said.
The cause of Sunday’s fires has not been determined.
Footage from the 24/7 EarthCam above Duffy Square – site of Times Square’s iconic red steps – shows a crowd lingering in the area just before 7pm when, suddenly, groups of people start running in one direction.
The square is partially emptied out by the time the panic dies down a few seconds later.
One nearby resident tweeted: ‘Feeling relieved. With it being the start holy week, I was very scared. When I say my whole apartment shook, my goodness! Hoping to get more details on the manhole explosion. Two in two years. Wild.’
The city’s fire department was assisting utility companies in finding out the cause of the manhole fires that led to the blast. The scene was turned over to the utility companies by 9pm.
The loud blast came as a shock to visitors of the city’s most popular tourist destination as crime rates continue to rise in the Big Apple.
On Saturday, a 17-year-old was arrested and charged in the Friday slaying of a 16-year-old girl, who was described as a ‘beautiful soul’ by her family.
Jeremiah Ryan, 17, was charged with murder, attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon by the NYPD in the killing of Angellyh Yambo, 16, near her Bronx school.
Angellyh Yambo, 16, (pictured in 2020) was walking home with two others around 2pm on Friday when she was struck in the chest with a bullet
‘Last night, we were able to bring in Jeremiah Ryan and place him in custody,’ NYPD Chief Timothy McCormack said at a press conference Saturday, adding that the boy is working with police.
‘We have two families that are completely destroyed right now – our victim’s family and our shooter’s family,’ McCormack said.
Police were investigating whether the shooting suspect, who has no criminal record, was using a so-called ‘ghost gun’ – a homemade firearm that can be built with parts bought online and lacks a serial number normally used to trace it. They said a total of six rounds were fired .
Yambo was walking home with two friends at around 2pm on Friday when she was struck in the chest with a bullet, having been caught in the crossfire of two reported criminals on opposite sides of the street when an argument broke out between them.
She was rushed to Lincoln Medical Center after emergency personnel were seen performing chest compressions on her in the street as blood pooled around her. Yambo could not be saved and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced a plan to give judges more power over bail for repeat offenders and to pursue more cases against minors after she admitted New Yorkers’ trust in safety has ‘shattered.’
Hochul, 63, who has recently announced she will be running for a full term as governor, announced on Thursday that judges will have more discretion over bail for repeat offenders or those charged with gun trafficking.
Hochul, 63, who has recently announced she will be running for a full term as governor, announced on Thursday that judges will have more discretion over bail for repeat offenders or those charged with gun trafficking
She admitted that bail ‘has been an issue,’ and the new measure includes expanding the defendants’ gun-related history, including previous gun use and the severity of the crime, when considering bail. T
he new law would also amend the current statutes on illegal gun trafficking, setting the number of illegal firearms needed for bail at three, down from 10.
‘For the first time, [we are] going to allow judges to set bail for gun charges that we previously subject only to release.
‘Also, adding factors that a judge must consider – as I mentioned, some problematic loopholes on Raise the Age and discovery, and making Kendra’s Law more effective. All in the interests of making a safer and more just New York,’ she said.