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Good Samaritan Credited With Saving 2 In Cab When Manhole Explodes In Midtown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A Good Samaritan was talking late Monday about a bizarre and dangerous incident that left two people injured when a manhole exploded in Midtown East.

At around 6:30 a.m., the manhole exploded at 44th Street and Lexington Avenue. Debris from the explosion crashed into a taxi.

The cover hit the hood of the taxi and shot through the windshield, injuring the driver and passenger.

Images from the scene showed the huge hole in the passenger side of the taxi's windshield. The cab, a "Taxi of Tomorrow," also had a crumpled hood.

Midtown Manhole Explosion
A look at the exploded manhole as well as one of the pieces of grating that flew off on Nov. 17, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, Good Samaritan Bernard Vickers does not consider himself a hero.

"I just happened to look and saw what happened, and I immediately reacted," Vickers said.

After hearing a loud boom, Vickers saw the mangled taxi outside the Starbucks Coffee where he works.

Without hesitation, Vickers jumped into action, and was first to free the driver.

"I ran outside to check on the cab's passenger and driver. The driver's window was down, so I helped him get out the window," he said.

Next, Vickers helped the passenger out.

"He was scared, he was traumatized, and as he was climbing out the sunroof, he, like, rolled -- so I just made sure he landed safely," Vickers said.

The driver and the passenger were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center and were treated for minor injuries. By Monday night, relatives at the driver's home said he was out of the hospital.

"I think he's OK," a relative of the driver's said.

Vickers was thankful he was able to help.

"I'm just a regular citizen doing what was right," he said.

The manhole which exploded was a large, square grate in the middle of the road.

Con Edison said a problem with an underground electrical cable may have caused the blast. Workers were to make repairs on Tuesday.

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