Press Release

For Immediate Release
Update #7, 7/28/2018, 3:00 p.m.


The Majority of the Affected Buildings are Safe and Open

39 Buildings Have Been Fully Cleared for Re-occupancy and an Additional Four Buildings Have Been Cleared to Partially Reopen

Remaining Buildings with Some Sign of Internal Debris are Aggressively Being Cleaned Before Re-occupancy

July 28, 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 New York State Department of Financial Services are also coordinating response operations.

Following the incident, 45 buildings were initially affected and have been assessed for asbestos contamination. 39 have been fully cleared for re-occupancy and an additional four buildings have been partially cleared to reopen. The City continues to work aggressively to clean the remaining buildings before they can be reoccupied.

DEP has collected more than 1,800 outdoor air samples in the area around the steam main explosion to test for the presence of asbestos and the results show that the air is safe for the public. 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:


  • 21st Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway is closed to vehicular traffic. Only the south side of 21st Street is open to pedestrians.
  • 21st Street between 6th Avenue and 5th Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic but is open to pedestrians.
  • 21st Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway is closed to all traffic.


City agencies are working aggressively to clean up debris and clear affected buildings for re-occupancy. To date, 39 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. 133 5th Avenue
  5. 135 5th Avenue
  6. 142 5th Avenue
  7. 144 5th Avenue
  8. 146 5th Avenue
  9. 155 5th Avenue
  10. 162 5th Avenue
  11. 164 5th Avenue
  12. 166 5th Avenue
  13. 7 West 19th Street
  14. 9 West 19th Street
  15. 11 West 19th Street (which includes 17 West 19th Street, 10 West 20th Street, and 16 West 20th Street)
  16. 4 West 20th Street
  17. 5 West 20th Street
  18. 6 West 20th Street
  19. 7 West 20th Street
  20. 9 West 20th Street
  21. 11 West 20th Street
  22. 15 West 20th Street
  23. 17 West 20th Street
  24. 4 West 21st Street (which includes 10 West 21st Street)
  25. 5 West 21st Street
  26. 7 West 21st Street
  27. 12 West 21st Street
  28. 16 West 21st Street
  29. 18 West 21st Street
  30. 19 West 21st Street
  31. 22 West 21st Street
  32. 29 West 21st Street
  33. 30 West 21st Street
  34. 5 East 20th Street
  35. 7 East 20th Street
  36. 16 West 22nd Street
  37. 10 East 21st Street
  38. 927 Broadway
  39. 129-131 5th Avenue (partial re-occupancy)
  40. 137 5th Avenue (partial re-occupancy)
  41. 139 5th Avenue (partial occupancy)
  42. 3 West 20th Street (which includes 156 5th avenue) (partial re-occupancy)

Partial re-occupancy: 139 5th Avenue and 3 West 20th Street (which includes 156 5th Avenue) have had their retail space cleared for re-occupancy. The above floors of these buildings have not been cleared for re-occupancy.


City agencies are working aggressively to clean the remaining buildings that have some sign of internal debris before they can be reoccupied:

  1. 141 5th Avenue (which includes 145 5th Avenue)
  2. 149 5th Avenue (which includes 921 and 925 Broadway)

For buildings requiring asbestos abatement, inspectors from the Health Department and DEP are re-inspecting common areas and roofs once abatement has been completed.

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 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 7/28, and Sunday, 7/29. 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 and the New York State Department of Financial Services. Residents can visit for building inspection progress.

The reception center has received 480 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.


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. Copies of re-occupancy letters are available at

Once a building can be re-occupied, any restaurant it houses may reopen. The Health Department does not require a food safety inspection. 

Due to the prolonged vacancy of many of these buildings, it is recommended that building management ensure that all faucets are turned on for at least 30 minutes prior to use in order to flush the stagnant water from building pipes.

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.

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.


: Nancy Silvestri/Justin Bennett (718) 422-4888

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