A faulty piece of equipment charged with 138,000 volts of electricity erupted into an “electrical arc flash” that cast an eerie blue glow over the skies of New York, Con Edison officials said Friday morning.
The rare phenomenon blew up at the Astoria East Substation on 20th Avenue and 32nd Street around 9:10 p.m. and could be seen across Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Video from the event looked frightening.. it started people on highways, bridges, and public transit.. some people had a tinge of fear in their voice as to why their dark city nights suddenly erupted in to day-time-like blue auras..
“It’s like a thunder-and-lightning event,” explained Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee. “The loud bangs people heard were likely related to the arc striking the ground grid on the substation from a piece equipment that’s 20 feet up in the air and carrying 138,000 volts.”
Many residents who were home at the time experienced flickering lights.
Despite earlier reports, McGee said there was no actual fire at the substation.
“The illumination was caused just by the arc flash. Once the electrical source removed, the arc flash subsided,” he said.
Con Ed officials are now investigating the incident and whether the flash of light was extinguished because the machinery automatically switched off or because it was burned through.
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