The call came in around 4:30 a.m. for multiple manhole fires at East 57th Street and 1st Avenue.
The FDNY arrived and said the situation seemed to be under control, but just after 7:30 a.m., one of the manholes had an explosion.
Firefighters said there were several power outages on 56th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues with rising carbon monoxide levels in various buildings.
Approximately 200 firefighters responded to do extensive searches of buildings and elevators.
Some civilians were in need of electricity for life-support systems and those people were being evaluated by FDNY personnel.
At least three injuries were reported, including one EMS member and one ConEd worker from the explosion and a firefighter who had difficulty breathing during the incident.
There were reports of damage to cars and storefronts in the area.
ConEd cut power to all the buildings on 56th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.
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