Press Release

For Immediate Release
Update #5, 7/25/2018, 2:30 p.m.


More than Half of the Affected Buildings Are Safe and Open

33 Buildings Have Been Cleared for Re-Occupancy; 12 Buildings Have Some Sign of Internal Debris that Must Be Cleaned to Open

Residents can visit for building inspection progress

July 25, 2018 – The City’s Emergency Management Department continues to coordinate the interagency response to the steam main explosion that occurred in Manhattan at West 21st Street and 5th Avenue on Thursday, July 19. City agencies continue to operate in the area, including the FDNY, NYPD, and the Departments of Environmental Protection, Buildings, Health and Mental Hygiene, Transportation, and Emergency Management. Con Edison, NYC Small Business Services, the American Red Cross in Greater NY, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are also coordinating response operations.

Following the incident, 45 buildings were located in the “hot zone” and have been assessed for asbestos contamination. Thirty-three buildings have been cleared for re-occupancy, 12 buildings have some sign of internal debris that must be cleaned to open.

DEP has collected nearly 1,500 outdoor air samples in the area around the steam main explosion to test for asbestos in the air. DEP has not found any asbestos fibers in the air samples. DEP will continue collecting air samples throughout the cleanup process. Air sampling results can be found at

The following is an update of the City’s response to the affected area:


  • Crosstown and pedestrian traffic is open throughout the area, with the exception of the immediately affected areas around the explosion site at 21st Street and 5th Avenue. 
  • Pedestrian and vehicular traffic along 5th Avenue between 20th and 22nd streets is suspended – MTA buses are passing through. 
  • 5th Avenue is open to MTA buses, and buses are bypassing all stops between 18th and 23rd Streets along 5th Avenue.
  • Out of an abundance of caution, portions of 20th and 21st Streets between Broadway and 6th Avenue may close to pedestrian traffic as cleaning and abatement work continues. 


City agencies are working diligently to clean up debris and clear affected buildings for re-occupancy. To date, 33 buildings have been cleared for re-occupancy:

  1. 119 5th Avenue (which includes 3 East 19th Street)
  2. 123 5th Avenue
  3. 125 5th Avenue
  4. 142 5th Avenue (which includes 1 West 19th Street, 5 West 19th Street)
  5. 146 5th Avenue
  6. 162 5th Avenue (which includes 1 West 21st Street)
  7. 164 5th Avenue
  8. 166 5th Avenue
  9. 7 West 19th Street
  10. 9 West 19th Street
  11. 11 West 19th Street (which includes 17 West 19th Street, 10 West 20th Street, and 16 West 20th Street)
  12. 5 West 20th Street
  13. 6 West 20th Street
  14. 7 West 20th Street
  15. 9 West 20th Street
  16. 11 West 20th Street
  17. 15 West 20th Street
  18. 17 West 20th Street
  19. 4 West 21st Street (which includes 10 West 21st Street)
  20. 5 West 21st Street
  21. 7 West 21st Street
  22. 12 West 21st Street
  23. 16 West 21st Street
  24. 18 West 21st Street
  25. 19 West 21st Street
  26. 22 West 21st Street
  27. 29 West 21st Street
  28. 30 West 21st Street
  29. 5 East 20th Street
  30. 7 East 20th Street
  31. 16 West 22nd Street ( which includes 15 West 21st Street)
  32. 10 East 21th Street (which includes 915 Broadway)
  33. 927 Broadway

Twelve buildings have some sign of internal debris that must be cleaned before they can be reoccupied.

  1. 129 – 131 5th Avenue
  2. 133 5th Avenue
  3. 135 5th Avenue
  4. 137 5th Avenue
  5. 139 5th Avenue
  6. 141 5th Avenue (which includes 145 5th Avenue)
  7. 144 5th Avenue
  8. 155 5th Avenue
  9. 160 5th Avenue
  10. 149 5th Avenue (which includes 921 and 925 Broadway)
  11. 3 West 20th Street (which includes 156 5th Avenue)
  12. 4 West 20th Street (which includes 150 5th Avenue)

Inspectors from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continue to examine impacted buildings in the area. Building facades, roofs, and common areas are being inspected and tested for the presence of asbestos.

Once a building is cleared for re-occupancy, residents are asked to report any visible contamination from the steam pipe incident in an apartment to Con Edison by visiting the Reception Center at 10 East 15th street, or calling Con Edison at (212) 358 4565. 


A reception center for affected individuals remains open at the Clinton School at 10 East 15th Street. The reception center will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. This reception center is for information inquiries only and is currently staffed with representatives from the New York City Departments of Emergency Management, Environmental Protection, and Health and Mental Hygiene along with Con Edison, the American Red Cross in Greater NY, ASPCA, the Animal Care Center of NYC, and the New York State Department of Financial Services. Individuals who live or work within the potential affected area and need to retrieve needed medical supplies or pets should report to the reception center, where escorts will be coordinated if possible.

The reception center has center has received 402 visits since Thursday, July 19.

The City is working with the Hotel Trade Council and the Hotel Association of New York City to accommodate residents who were affected by Thursday’s steam explosion. To date, four families (10 individuals and 1 dog), have been assisted. Affected residents seeking a temporary room should visit the Reception Center at 10 East 15th street for more information.


What steps must happen before an affected building can be reopened?

City agencies, Con Edison and building owners must work together to complete these steps:

  • Cleaning the outside of the building
  • Re-inspecting the outside of the building after cleaning
  • Inspecting the roof and common areas for debris
  • Removing any debris from the roof and common areas of the building
  • Replacing HVAC filters if the building has a central HVAC system
  • Assessing and analyzing indoor air quality

Building owners will receive a letter from the Health Department and the Department of Environmental Protection when their building is ready for re-occupancy.
Once a building can be re-occupied, any restaurant it houses may reopen.  The Health Department does not require a food safety inspection. 

What if there is debris inside my workplace or home?

If you see debris in your home or workplace, you should visit the reception center at 10 East 15th Street where representatives from Con Edison, the Health Department and the Department of Environmental Protection are on-site from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or you can call 212-358-4565.  Do not disturb, sweep or vacuum the debris.


NYC Small Business Services (SBS) is maintaining a presence at the reception center at 10 East 15th, and continues to work with the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership and city agency partners to meet the needs of impacted businesses. The SBS mobile unit will be at this same location beginning at 11 a.m. on Thursday 7/26, to provide emergency response services.  

SBS can advise on insurance claims and applications for compensation, and troubleshoot business access issues.  Business owners may visit for FAQs on emergency services, or call 212-618-8810 for immediate help.


MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Silvestri/Omar Bourne (718) 422-4888

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