NEW YORK - Fire and emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspected steam explosion near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on Wednesday during the evening rush hour, officials said.
The New York Police Department said a steam pipe exploded but had no immediate details on possible injuries. The NYPD said the incident did not appear to be terrorism-related.
Two people were injured in the incident, according to WNBC-TV.
"It is a steampipe explosion — not terrorism," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the station.
A large column of gray smoke poured from the vicinity of a building near Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, and the air near the site was filled with ash.
In the moments after the explosion, large crowds of homeward-bound commuters milled in the streets around Grand Central Terminal, nervously sharing information. Inside the station, food vendors hurried to store their carts and yelled to commuters that they had been ordered to evacuate. Commuters pouring into the station began turning around to exit to the street.
A witness reported that a building had collapsed, but New York City police said the building had not fallen but was "shaky."
"There was a thundering noise like a hundred freight trains going by and a plume of what looks like steam as high as 10 stories," said former Reuters correspondent Irwin Arieff.
Utility company Consolidated Edison said there was an operational problem in the area and crews were responding but had no more immediate information.
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