Source: 2nd Ave. explosion caused by human error

Aftermath of planned explosion along the 2nd Avenue subway construction site (N.J. Burkett)

August 21, 2012 8:15:10 PM PDT
Buildings Department officials are inspecting surrounding buildings for structural stability after the 2nd Avenue blast.

As a result of the explosion, all work has been ordered to stop at that location.

Sources familiar with the explosion tell Eyewitness News that the explosives were set without proper precautions in place. This type of underground blast requires a protective covering be draped across the surface to prevent any release of rocks, dust and debris. Yet this demolition project was to blast a 35 degree angle for an escalator at the new 72nd Street station.

The protective covering, according to an Eyewitness News source, was draped in such a way as to prevent a vertical release of debris, rather than taking this extreme angle into account. So the debris blew-off in a 35-degree angle to the surface.

The explosion happened at 1 p.m. on Tuesday on 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue.

Due to the accident, East 72nd Street was closed between 1st and 3rd Avenues but it has since reopened. Buses were being rerouted due to the accident.

Several city agenciess are at the scene inspecting surrounding buildings for structural stability after the blast.

"I thought I was in Beirut!" a woman said.

The explosion echoed across 72nd Street and sent a cloud of dust rising into the skies over 2nd Avenue.

Susan Schuander was shopping in the Corner Art Gallery when the windows suddenly blew-in.

Moments later, rocks and dust covered the street outside. Windows broke as well. Amazingly, damage was minor and no one was injured.

The explosion was intended to be controlled. It was scheduled, underground demolition to make-way for the new 2nd Avenue subway.

Earlier this month, the MTA posted video of a similar operation on YouTube.

Fire officials said the street was cleared prior to this latest blast, as a precaution.

MTA engineers examined the damage, but could not explain how the explosion got out of hand.

Some neighbors say that's not good enough.

"We did not move to this neighborhood to be killed by dynamite!" said Carole Cusa, a neighbor.


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