Manhole fire briefly shuts down Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn

July 14, 2022 Mary Frost
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Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn was temporarily closed to traffic on Wednesday night after a manhole caught fire, causing the cover to explode into the air. The incident took place at 90 Court St. at the intersection of Court and Schermerhorn streets. 

Acrid smoke billowed along the sidewalk, causing some passers-by to don their medical masks. 

“I saw the cover go up into the air,” said a man standing in a small crowd that had gathered on the sidewalk. Units from Engine Company 118 and Ladder Company 110 responded, along with NYPD.

According to an FDNY spokesperson, units responded to the fire at 7:08 p.m., when the scene was secured and utilities notified. Fire Department operations concluded at 8:09 p.m., and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire was not immediately available.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

According to the September 2021 Mayor’s Management Report published by New York City, the number of manhole fires more than doubled from 2,587 in Fiscal 2020 to 6,104 in Fiscal 2021. 

Manhole fires are more common in the winter due to the spreading of salt in the streets. But manhole “events,” as the city calls them, can also happen during summer’s heat. Con Edison has installed sensors that detect heat and carbon monoxide in some manholes as part of a pilot program to prevent explosions.

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