An underground explosion on a Queens sidewalk sent flames into the air and injured a man standing nearby, according to video footage from NBC New York.
Barry West was walking on Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday, on his way to pay a cellphone bill when the incident occurred, the outlet reported Tuesday.
The blast knocked the 57-year-old dad to the ground, but he managed to escape before being burned even more.
Moments before, the video shows smoke coming from the grate as West walked past. After the explosion, he grabbed hold of a nearby fence and pulled himself up off the pavement.
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Friends told the outlet West suffered second-degree burns but was in good spirits and recovering at Nassau University Medical Center.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, second-degree burns affect the epidermis and second layer of skin, known as the dermis.
“It may cause swelling and red, white or splotchy skin. Blisters may develop, and pain can be severe. Deep second-degree burns can cause scarring,” the site read.
Carrol Hamblin said she believed her friend had extra help because he survived the explosion.
“You can see how God just picked him out of that fire. He staggered. He had his hands up and rubbed his head and fell,” Hamblin explained, adding, “Just a miracle. Nobody but God could do that. Not a man.”
In a statement, Con Edison told NBC it was “investigating the cause of this event which caused serious injury to a member of the public. We express our sincere concern for the victim and our regret for this incident. We wish him a full and fast recovery.”
However, the utility company did not clarify if there were recent reports of issues with the underground infrastructure that caught on fire, the NBC article concluded.