Bay Ridge

Loud explosions rock quiet Bay Ridge street

Service Cover Explodes on Marine Ave.

May 9, 2016 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A firefighter approaching the service box. Photo by Amanda Alexander
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The Brooklyn Eagle was first on the scene when a series of electrical explosions rocked the corner of Oliver Street and Marine Avenue in Bay Ridge on Saturday night.  After 9 p. m., a service box exploded emitting sparks and black smoke that cascaded down Marine Avenue toward 92nd Street.  Neighbors came out from their homes to watch the street fireworks before the police, ambulances and dozens of firefighters arrived on the scene.

The firefighters had to wait about an hour for the fire to subside a little before applying foam to quell the flames and eventually dousing the fire with water.  The explosion resulted from salt seeping into the ground and getting into the insulation, causing it to spark into flames, according to a firefighter on the scene.

The firefighters also went from house to house on the block to check for carbon monoxide and electrical shortages.  The fire was contained within hours, before Con Edison trucks arrived to evaluate the situation.  

Neighbors said that such service box explosions have occurred at least three times in this neighborhood in recent years.  Smoke could also be seen emitting from at least one other nearby service box.  

The homeowners of the house directly across the street from the fire said that when they arrived back home from dinner at 10:30 p.m., all their lights were flickering and there was more than a foot of water in their basement.  They added that Con Edison was very helpful and explained that a burning secondary cable in the service box caused the flames to go through like a lightning bolt and hit a lead pipe in the basement, which caused extensive damage.

As of Sunday at 10 p.m., houses and apartments on Oliver Street and Marine Avenue remained without power and two houses on the block had fires break out in their basements.  

The Charter House of the Guild for Exceptional Children on Marine was still without power.  A representative for Con Edison told the Eagle that this is a perfect example of why people should never walk on service boxes.

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