2006-04-12 / Front Page

Gas Main Ruptures

Photo Luis Rocha Photo Luis Rocha A city bus and a garage at the former Triboro Coach Corp. bus depot were incinerated Monday after a ruptured natural gas main sparked a fire that sent a fireball into the air over East Elmhurst. Bystanders said they heard two explosions at about 10:40 a.m. and then watched as a fireball shot high into the air. They said the heat from the blaze could be felt a block away.

Triboro Coach is now operated by the MTA. According to reports, a private contractor hired by the MTAwas digging a hole along 87th Street and 23rd Avenue when the gas main ruptured and the blaze ignited. MTAworkers moved buses powered by natural gas away from the blaze to keep them from igniting as well. The Vaughn College of Aeronautics, a day care center and a homeless shelter close by LaGuardia airport were evacuated. One MTA worker sustained burns to his hands but, according to reports, refused treatment at the scene.

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