Friday, June 1, 2012

Two Construction Workers injured in Explosion

An explosion rocked one of the busiest retail, tourist areas of Manhattan, leaving two construction workers hurt, and hundreds running to safety near the High Line elevated park. A pair of construction workers was removing old gas tanks from the Chelsea site, a former Mobil gas station, when the explosion occurred Friday morning. The explosion sparked terror concerns among eyewitnesses.

It happened in an 18-foot deep crater around 10:30 this morning. Most of the hole had already been dug by a front-end loader to help the 15 workers on the site of a former gas station under the High Line remove six 6,000-gallon gas tanks. However, the hole took an extra impact, while the workers were doing their job.

At the scene, the impact of the violent explosion threw two workers against the fence of the former Mobil gas station that is being environmentally rehabilitated in order to be converted into shops. 
Medics took the men to Bellevue Hospital to check for internal injuries they may have suffered from the impact.

The area is full of shoppers, workers and tourists just about all of the time, with the Apple Store at one end of the block, Chelsea Market next door, and the very popular High Line Park running through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, where this took place. Nevertheless, on a pleasant and sunny Friday, the area was particularly crowded when it was shaken up.

Among many people who ran away or thought they had to, just one thing went through their minds. "A bomb," said one eyewitness. "Of course you know you're always thinking about that, especially where we're at."

The two injured men walked into the waiting ambulances workers were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries, a Police Department representative said.

Inspectors from the Department of Buildings issued a stop work order for the site while they check to ensure the scene is safe.

Inspectors and fire officials closed off the area where the explosion took place, at 450 West 14th Street, near 10th Avenue, and stayed on the scene for hours after the explosion to make sure the support pillars of the High Line, which surround the impact zone, are secure. They determined that they were, and by 1:30 in the afternoon, the world-famous elevated park reopened.

A spokesperson for the High Line said. "All is well, and the park is structurally sound." The park runs above the site where the explosion occurred.