An underground utility fire knocks out power to a Queens neighborhood, leaving 100 customers struggling in the heat in their homes and businesses. NY1's Michel Herzenberg has the story.
Flames shot out of a manhole on Broadway at 44th Street in Queens late Wednesday night. At one point, residents say the flames reached ten feet above the street.
The blaze left 90 year-old Ulysses Demopolis sweating without air conditioning all night and morning Thursday. His son-in-law came to check on him.
"It's very hot last night, this morning," said Demopolis's son.
Many of the more than 100 Con Edison customers who lost power spent time on their porches, trying to find some relief from the wilting heat. Some, like Ted Kaselis, tried to sleep on the porch.
"Outside I think I dozed off a little because it was quiet, but it's difficult," said Kaselis.
Others had to seek shelter with family because they were too ill or weak to soldier on without air conditioning.
"Our landlords are having a tough time," said Alison Capetta, another resident. "They're elderly and it's a little tough for them without the AC and the electricity."
John Katlak owns Adriatic Meats on Broadway and says he's afraid the power outage turned tens of thousands of dollars in refrigerated and frozen inventory rancid, something you could smell inside.
"I'm feeling like a little depressed," Katlak said.
"Big, big, big, big damage," said Moe El Haddad, who worries about his produce and ice cream at the "tropical fruit market" on the corner of Broadway and 44th Street.
He recorded cell phone video of the fire, and with his store closed, he spent the morning watching Con Ed workers try to fix the cables that went bad and all the fire damage from the night before.
The more power used in the city, the more often there are power outages. Con Ed says we're using about 11,900 megawatts Thursday, but that is a far cry from the high of 13,650 utilized on one day in 2013.