Downtown

Gas main rupture empties federal buildings on Tillary Street

March 13, 2019 Todd Maisel | Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Firefighters block off the scene of a ruptured gas main in Downtown Brooklyn. Eagle photo by Todd Maisel

A gas rupture in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon forced the evacuation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and a post office as utilities grappled with stemming the leak.

The rupture was caused by repaving work on Tillary Street, fire officials said. The building across the street, 271 Cadman Plaza, which houses multiple federal agencies, was evacuated. The Eastern District Courthouse next door remained open, officials said.

Evacuated employees waited for the all-clear to go back inside their building. Eagle photo by Todd Maisel
Evacuated employees waited for the all-clear to go back inside their building. Eagle photo by Todd Maisel

Police from the 84th Precinct closed the street as firefighters converged on the scene to keep people away from the highly flammable gas main.

An official for the General Services Administration identified the contractor as Restani Construction of Astoria, and a sub-contractor under Jacobs Contracting. It was unclear as of press time how the leak occurred.

Evacuated workers gathered near the State Supreme Court, while William Saxton, a bankruptcy attorney, sang opera to keep everyone entertained.

The offices inside 271 Cadman Plaza were evacuated. Eagle photo by Todd Maisel
The offices inside 271 Cadman Plaza were evacuated. Eagle photo by Todd Maisel

“We are grateful for the response from FDNY NYPD and utilities, and everybody is safe,” said John Marzulli, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District.

National Grid stopped the leak by 12:45 p.m. One member of the FDNY said, “We were lucky there was no fire — it was just a leak, but we made sure to take precautions.”

Last week, a broken main caused by a contractor caused a fire that closed Kent Avenue and Broadway in Williamsburg, injuring three workers.

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