Man survives New York sidewalk explosion

Flames burst out of a grate as he walked past

Helen Elfer
Tuesday 27 July 2021 16:40
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Man survives explosion on New York sidewalk
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Video footage has shown a man walk away from a dramatic explosion that seemed to engulf him in flames.

The survivor, Barry West, 57, was walking down a sidewalk in Queens on the way to pay his mobile phone bill, reports NBC New York, when he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Footage shows smoke wafting out through a grate that Mr West is walking towards. As he steps over the grate, a huge explosion bursts from underground, knocking him to his feet.

He appears to be engulfed in flames, but staggers up and holding on to a nearby fence, manages to pull himself away from the flames.

Mr West suffered second-degree burns and was recovering at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, about 30 miles west of the city, according to the channel.

Friends told NBC New York that Mr West was in good spirits but was still stunned by the explosion.

“It was just a miracle,” said one neighbour.

“He was strong,” said another. “Some people could have just laid there and let it be over, but he got up and got out of there.”

Energy company Con Edison said in a statement that they were looking into the incident.

“We are fully investigating the cause of this event which caused serious injury to a member of the public” said a spokesperson. "We express our sincere concern for the victim and our regret for this incident. We wish him a full and fast recovery."

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