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‘Last time was 9/11’: Loud explosion in Times Square has people fleeing in fear

Hundreds of terrified tourists flee in viral footage from NYC's iconic Times Square after a manhole explosion, causing elevated carbon monoxide levels
UPDATED APR 11, 2022
People flee after a loud explosion at Times Square on April 10, 2022 (Abyss Chronicles/Twitter)
People flee after a loud explosion at Times Square on April 10, 2022 (Abyss Chronicles/Twitter)

A sudden explosion rocked New York City's Times Square area on April 10, 2022. Viral footage on social media shows people fleeing in fear after three manhole fires just before 7:00 PM, which led to a loud bang. So far, no injuries or property damage have been reported, and it appears officials have found the cause of the explosion as well.

One of NYC's most crowded and iconic spots, Times Square has of late become a hotspot for crime and other major incidents. In October 2021, shocking CCTV footage showed a woman shoving a commuter into an oncoming train. In May 2021, 29-year-old Christine Hammontree mysteriously vanished after getting into a cab at Times Square. She was found unharmed days later. The area has also seen a series of gunfire and gun-related violence, which in one case injured a newly-wed Marine on holiday in June 2021. 


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Gun violence is by far the biggest issue at Times Square. Several incidents have rocked the area, causing tourists and locals to flee in fear. That fear was briefly brought back on April 10, after a sudden manhole fire. 

What caused the explosion?

One spokesperson told ABC 7 that "One manhole exploded in the Times Square area this evening due to cable failure, and a second manhole was smoking." So far, no cause for the second or third explosion has been given, even though crews have since left the scene. Fire Department of New York (FDNY) officials did not say why the cable failed but noted that "there have been no customer outages," at this time.

During a search of surrounding properties, officials found elevated carbon monoxide levels, which was mitigated by around 9:00 PM. After that, the scene was handed over to utility companies, who might possibly investigate further what happened. It is believed the elevated levels of the dangerous gas were caused by the fires, which could have been trapped beneath the manholes for a while before finally exploding out. 

One of the videos going viral was shot by a woman at the scene and has since been tweeted and retweeted numerous times. In it, the explosion can be heard, which sets off mass panic as people attempt to flee.


"People on the internet saying people's reactions in Times Square to that explosion "didn't need to be that big"... because they heard an explosion. Pretty sure the last time a bang that loud happened was during 9/11 plus there is war going on right now. I'd f-----g run too," one user commented after the incident. Another said, "Hearing an explosion and getting caught up in a crowd of terrified people running from Times Square is not a feeling I had ever hoped to feel wow f--k." A third person tweeted, "This isn't my normal tweet but tonight I was 100 foot away from an explosion in Times Square, I took this video a few seconds after. I believe it was a fire under ground that blew up. Its a miracle no one was hurt."




One person mocked, "New York City is so full of s--t it's literally exploding from all the gas." Another eyewitness tweeted, "Was right across the street when the explosion happened in Times Square. Saw something in the air after the boom. Pure panic people take a second to process and then start running. FDNY pulled right up moments before the boom."