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Powerful steam pipe explosion spews asbestos around Flatiron District

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Steam pipe exposion spews asbestos in NYC

A powerful steam pipe explosion spewed asbestos around the Flatiron District, forcing the evacuation of nearby buildings and snarling Thursday morning rush hour traffic.

Plumes of white steam and smoke rose 70 feet into the sky from the ruptured 20-inch pipe on Fifth Ave. near 21st St., shrouding the iconic Flatiron Building while closing streets and disrupting subway service in the Manhattan neighborhood.

The force of the 6:39 a.m. explosion sent toxic dust flying into the air from the asbestos-lined pipe, which was installed in 1932, as it blew a massive hole in the street.

“We know, thank God, no one was seriously injured,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Testing took place as a result of the rupture. … We have confirmed the presence of asbestos.”

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