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Manhole explosion in New York's Times Square sends crowd in terrified sprint

The massive boom could be heard for blocks in the tourist-dense area.
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A manhole cover explosion in New York's Times Square Sunday night sent people in a panicked sprint away from the scene.

The boom, which could be heard for blocks in the tourist-dense area, frightened hundreds of people, videos show. Those in the area could be heard screaming and cursing as they ran north, away from the sound of the blast.

Those who were lounging on the famous red stairs had to run toward the noise to get down the steps before turning around and racing in the opposite direction.

The New York City Fire Department said in statements that firefighters responding to the scene just before 7 p.m. found three manholes on fire on 43rd and 7th, near Times Square's Hard Rock Cafe.

Crews also found elevated carbon monoxide levels on the same block.

The scene was turned over to utility crews a couple hours after the explosion, FDNY said. No injuries were reported.

Times Square and the surrounding neighborhoods, known as Hell's Kitchen and the Theater District, have seen a good deal of headline-making crime since the start of the pandemic.