21 April, 1989
Gas leak malodorous but harmless
It smelled awful. It inconvenienced shoppers and stalled traffic. But the rancid liquid accidently released from an abandoned gas line Wednesday was not dangerous, police said.
A dark-colored, foul-smelling liquid owed out of an abandoned five-inch gas main after construction workers accidently struck the old steel pipe shortly before 10 a.m. The construction crew, installing new downtown sidewalks, was working in front of 152 Nassau St. when the accident occurred near a manhole.
Officials were not able to identify the liquid. The construction crew, also uriable to identify the substance and term nn sensible explosion,immediately notified police and firefighters.
Within minutes of the accident, police had closed a portion of Nassau Street to traffic and begun evacuating “a few down employees” from several nearby stores. After conducting field tests on the substance, which passersby described as smelling like rotten eggs, officials determined that the liquid was neither flammable non toxic. A chemical removal company was called to the scene.
Police said the liquid had probably been sitting in the pipe for years. The sidewalk construction project is expected to proceed on schedule.