Steam Explosion Causes Scare in NYC; Not Believed To Be Terrorism

NEW YORK (AP) - One witness says "everybody obviously thought of Nine-Eleven."

But police say a steam explosion that tore through a Manhattan street near Grand Central Terminal was not terrorism.

A fire department spokeswoman says some people were taken to area hospitals, but no details are available. Subway service has been suspended because of the explosion.

The geyser of steam shot into the air from a gaping hole in the street during evening rush hour and went as high as the nearby Chrysler Building.

Thousands of commuters evacuated Grand Central, some at a run, after workers yelled for people to get out of the building.

(M) Millions of pounds of steam are pumped beneath New York City streets every hour, heating and cooling thousands of buildings.

The steam pipes are sometimes prone to rupture, however. In 1989, a gigantic steam explosion ripped through a street, killing three people.