NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Cars were torched after an underground explosion ignited three separate manhole fires within blocks of each other.
Smoke filled the air on Davidson Ave, just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.
In an ill-fated chain of events, fire broke out in a manhole by 183rd Street, burning out a taxicab parked directly above it and spreading to the car parked behind.
The fire spread underground, and down two blocks, reigniting above ground at two more manholes.
The fire chief said Tuesday’s warm weather after weekend snow is to blame.
“It rained, that washed all the salt into the manholes corrodes the cables, cables start to smolder, carbon monoxide builds up, it catches on fire, and that’s why you had fires over there because the carbon monoxide travels and catches on fire, lights those on fire,” FDNY Battalion Chief Kenneth Ruggiero said.
There were no reported injuries.
Yaw Appiah considers himself lucky, even though he’s out of a job for a couple days. He drove a yellow cab which is no longer yellow.
“I thank go for that because I was getting ready to go to work right now,” he said.
Appiah lives around the corner with his wife and two kids and said he’s been parking that cab in the same spot between shifts for the last five years.
“I’m out of words. I don’t know what to say at this moment,” his wife Ernestina Acheanpong said.
Con Ed is working on restoring power in two buildings. Appiah said he plans to pick up a new car and get back to work later this week.