Manhole explosion in Park Slope on Feb 2nd, 2015. Photo credit:Todd Maisel/Daily News


Well there she blows–not once, not twice, but thirteen times! Yes folks, feel free to keep your dirty little minds in the gutter because that is where the action was last night for the FDNY and NYPD.

Some of you might have woken up to quite the bang this morning when 13 manhole covers exploded into the sky along a stretch of Norman Avenue. The explosion happened at approximately 3 am after several residents complained of strong gas smells through out the early hours of the morning. 

Thanks to a resilient Old Man Winter who continues to dump snow onto Greenpoint streets, the combination of salt and snow created a volatile cocktail for the city’s underground network of electric cables.  Too much of the salty slush caused fuel to mount considerable pressure inside sewer pipes. When the load of carbon monoxide pressure grew to unsustainable heights, the pipes relieved themselves by shooting flames and manhole covers soaring several feet into the air.


Thankfully no one was injured and by 6 am the flames were under control.

In case you thought Greenpoint pipes were the only one feeling the pressure last night, think again. Only a few hours earlier, FDNY responded to another manhole fire in Chelsea thanks to salted electric lines. Like the incident on Norman Avenue, no injuries were reported.

Join the Conversation


  1. Actually, this info is incorrect. I live on Norman, between Monitor and Kingsland. The manholes blew just before 3am (time stamped photos if you need them). The FDNY was there minutes later. National Grid arrived after the fire department secured the scene and tested all the buildings for gas leaks. While no one was hurt, the tenants of the apartments above the bar The Place were evacuated for the night because of dangerous gas fumes.

    1. Thanks Kindall, I made the correction. Glad to hear yourself and no one else was hurt despite the flames and the evacuation.

  2. Thank you for the coverage! I was still awake (at Sutton St., just between Norman and Manhattan Ave.) last night when it happened and was so alarmed because of the noise, really, really scarry, but I couldn’t find out what it was until now. Well, to know about suddenly “flying manholes” and spontaneously happening explosions doesn’t really make me feel better. But eventhough, good to know.

  3. I smelled gas several times at the corner of Manhattan and Norman last year at an ongoing street excavation. After complaining, it was apparently fixed.
    RECENTLY I smelled gas on Norman Ave. near Manhattan Ave, –next to the site of a new building excavation.
    Now this.
    Is it connected?
    Is it MERELY manhole covers blowing due to a tough winter of salt and snow?
    is there a lingering problem with the gas mains near Norman and Manhattan Ave?
    Someone should really check this out.
    If the residents smell gas they should call National Grid (and 911) at:
    New York
Metro NY: 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *