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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Roosevelt Island Fire With Flames And Smoke Rising From Below Sidewalk In Front Of Island House- But Was It Really Fire?

Image From Frank Farance

There was a fire yesterday afternoon in front of Island House with smoke and

Image From Frank Farance

flames rising from the sidewalk. (Click on images to enlarge for better view).

Image From Frank Farance

I asked Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra what happened and he replied:
There was a fire earlier today across the street from Public Safety Headquarters. We do not know exactly what caused it, although one of the FDNY Firefighters on the scene stated that it could have been salt that had fallen through the grates onto the wires below. Con-Ed has been working to repair the damage as well as to provide temporary power to support the five light poles that are out between 543-563 Main Street. The Public Safety Department has an officer posted at the location. There were no injuries or traffic issues.
Image From Frank Farance

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Frank Farance was on the scene and states that what appears to be flames is not so but is instead:
On several of the pictures, you might think you are seeing *fire* coming out of the grate, but that is not what is actually happening. If it were fire, it would be melting the snow/ice around the grate and that is not happening. What you are seeing is smoke, particles, and sparks that are being *illuminated* by the very bright arcing below.

For example, in picture 1/6 (1303) it looks like fire is breathing out of the grate, but if it were a really big fire, then there would be a lot of convection above it -- in fact, the smoke puffs are rising slowly. So the apparent strong streams of smoke are really just sharp rays of light from the arcing. When you see the video, this will make more sense. ( The picture below is what Mr. Farance is referring to -a video is forthcoming).

Image From Frank Farance
Con Ed was working on the site later in the afternoon and will advise as to whether the problem was caused by transformers or something else.

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