Firefighters evacuate gym before explosion blows out windows

Firefighters evacuated 90 people from the gym and nearby buildings after finding elevated carbon monoxide levels before the explosion occurred

By Rikki Reyna and John Annese
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An electrical fire and gas leak led to a blast that shattered the windows of an Upper West Side gym Sunday night, FDNY officials said.

Firefighters had already cleared out the Equinox gym building on Broadway near W. 92nd St. when an explosion blew out the windows on the first floor at about 6:20 p.m., an FDNY spokesman said.

Firefighters first showed up at about 3:45 p.m., after getting a report of an electrical fire in the basement.

First responders found elevated carbon monoxide and natural levels, and evacuated five businesses in four nearby buildings, the spokesman said.

In all, firefighters evacuated 90 people — 50 from the gym, 15 from a neighboring SoulCycle, 10 from a Petco store, two from a bakery and 15 residents of the upstairs apartments, the spokesman said.

The blast came as firefighters were setting up a safety zone to keep people away from the area.

“People saw the front door to the gym fly open and the windows were all shattered. There was an orange flash, but then it was gone,” said a doorman who works across the street.

“I came out and it seemed smoky everywhere,” the doorman said. “There was debris in the air, it was all dusty. But then it cleared out quickly so no one knew what happened.”

“The fire came out in front of the building and blew out all the windows in the Equinox building. No one was injured due to us recognizing the potential and evacuating all the people from the buildings,” said FDNY Asst. Chief John Hodgens.

The FDNY is checking on the animals still inside the Petco, but as of late Sunday, all of them were believed to be safe, Hodgens said.

A malfunctioning underground transformer below the sidewalk sent carbon monoxide into the building Hodgens said.

“Any spark caused by something as little as a telephone ringing or a light switch being turned on can trigger an explosion,” he said.

Workers have turned off gas and electric service to the buildings.

Copyright 2018 New York Daily News


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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