John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
One more reason not to park over a manhole.
As part of our ongoing series on how manholes are trying to destroy society – via painful-to-watch traffic accidents and bench-pressing a vehicle with storm water – here's one that waited until a driver walked away from the scene before unleashing a prolonged belch of flame that utterly consumed the vehicle.
Is that a tire popping around 0:55, or something else exploding? Stuff gets real about 30 seconds later as the dying auto leaks a river of fire that starts to creep down the block.
The surprise volcano occurred on Williamsburg's Bedford Avenue last Friday, according to a report on the monitoring forums of NYCFire.net: "21: 30 B 35 using All Hands for multiple manholes on fire." New York Shitty has this witness account of the blaze:
About 9:15 Outside the Lucky Dog… Firefighter said a transformer blew and the flames shot out a manhole cover, hit the bottom of a BMW. Guy who hangs out at the barber shop on S. 2nd says it’s his friend’s, wasn’t fully insured… hope Con Ed or National Grid are on the hook.
The locals helped redirect traffic until the firefighters and cops got there, and the poor drunk hipsters at the Lucky Dog were locked inside for an hour before the firefighters cleared them out.
(Before you point out how insensitive that last statement is, "Kristena" has already dispatched hate mail to the post's author, who didn't actually write it, but whatever. She says: "First of all, there was a WALL OF FUCKING FIRE outside and we all thought we were going to be seriously hurt and or injured." A couple people reportedly lost their bikes in the conflagration, as well.)
Here's more footage of the mayhem-spewing manhole from, er, "Crotch Shot Radio Show." He seems to take the carbeque in stride with that, "Well, I guess I know what's wrong with the electrical in my building."