Several Loud Explosions Rock Sunset Park, Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —  After several big explosions erupted in Sunset Park, Brooklyn Thursday, some residents are worried about the gas and electric lines buried in front of their homes.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, an underground fire had been checked out and cleared just an hour before the explosions at 375 64th St. in Brooklyn.

“I was sitting in the car when the whole thing first started to happen,” said Alberto Wilson.

Wilson’s unlucky Lexus sedan was crushed under a 300-pound utility service box cover. It had flown high into the air after a series of underground explosions.

The explosions in turn came a short time after smoke was seen coming from a nearby utility manhole around 10 a.m.

“I called the Fire Department. They came in,” Wilson said. “They came in, and everybody had left, and said everything was OK.”

But about 45 minutes later, loud booms echoed in the neighborhood, which sits below the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

“There was like a loud bang; I came outside to see what the commotion was about,” said Kevin Castillo.

When he saw what happened to the cars that were smashed by the utility box cover, Castillo said he was a “little scared; I didn’t realize it was that serious.”

Ana Rodriguez said her heart was pounding when the explosions rocked the area.

“I run over there — running over there,” Rodriguez said. “The other people coming and say, ‘Ann, what happened?’ And I go, ‘I don’t know!’”

There were two explosions. The utility box cover hit the bottom of a car that was parked right over it, and which neighbor said is owned by a police officer.

A second cover flew into the air and struck the Lexus.

Late Thursday, Con Edison was still investigating – but believes a contractor named Royal Guard Fence that was working nearby hit an underground National Grid gas line, setting off the dangerous chain of events.

“I’m just glad we are OK. It could have been a lot worse; we were standing right there,” Wilson said. “I mean, there is a God!”

Utility workers late Thursday were below ground cutting out huge strips of fried electrical feeder cable, and promising residents all kinds of safety checks to make sure that the system is restored properly.

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