A steam pipe exploded on Manhattan’s East Side, right in the middle of evening rush hour. One person is dead and more than twenty are injured. Eyewitnesses describe it as “the scariest thing I’ve seen since 9/11″ — a scene of mass hysteria, with “thousands running fearfully” through city streets.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving a briefing right now. In the real-time coverage of these events on the New York Times’s excellent City Room blog, there’s a shout-out to one of your favorite law firms:
6:55 p.m. | Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a large law firm with offices at 425 Lexington Avenue, at East 43rd Street, was one of many companies to evacuate their workers.
“It sounded at first like thunder, but it just didn’t end. It was a really loud, deep, sustained explosion,” said Andrew T. Frankel, a partner at the firm, who works on the 23rd floor. “We all looked out the window and saw black smoke just billowing up 43rd Street. It was pretty frightening, more for the unknown than anything. Nobody waited for the evacuation warning. Everybody headed for the stairwell and headed out of the building. People were tense, but calm.”
“We did floor sweeps and there’s nobody left in the building except the emergency response team in the lobby,” said an operator who answered calls to employees at the firm.
Not even WP? You know something is up when a Biglaw shop is deserted by 7 PM. On a Wednesday.
If you witnessed this evening’s events, please share what you saw, in the comments.
Steam Explosion Jolts Midtown; One Person Is Confirmed Dead [City Room / New York Times]
One Dead After East Side Explosion [WNBC.com]