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Underground Explosion Throws Metal Plates Into Air In Lower Manhattan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An underground explosion sent heavy metal manhole covers flying, narrowly missing cars and people in bustling Lower Manhattan.

The explosion happened at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on Broadway near Chambers Street, CBS2's Steve Langford reported.

Several metal plates weighing about 150 pounds each were lifted into the air as one man stood nearby.

"It looked like a big explosion like that top went up with a big explosion the top flew up," said witness Leland Bowman.

"I saw pieces in the air, the big metal pieces and they came down in the snow," said witness Ashley Castro.

One witness told Langford that snow blew up in the air nearly 30 feet and even lifted up a car.

There were no injuries reported. The man who was standing closest to the explosion was very badly shaken and went into a nearby pharmacy for help, but was uninjured.

"He was really nervous," Castro, a pharmacist, told CBS2. "He kept checking his face and asked me to look at his face."

Officials with Con Edison said the explosion was likely due to a combination of snowmelt and salt on underground electrical lines, Langford reported.

The investigation into the cause of the blast is ongoing.

Con Edison has reported over 400 manhole incidents since the blizzard.

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