I spotted liquid nitrogen tanks at the corner of East 9th Street and University Place. Being a sucker for liquid nitrogen tanks (per this other post of mine here: http://rogerpaw.blogspot.com/2011/04/liquid-nitrogen-trickster.html), I thought I'd mosey on up to these tanks to take a few snaps. In case you aren't aware, from time to time the city uses liquid nitrogen to cool underground cables in order to keep them from overheating, etc. Upon closer inspection, I couldn't help but notice what a nice arrangement the other items on this corner made!
Nice frosty tooth-shaped image on this tank:
Lovely emergency box. These still work!
I was about to step off the curb and continue on my walk when... wait a second.. what the..
The liquid nitrogen tank cable is broken!!! :-O
The end of the broken cable was hissing air. Oh dear. Not good. Liquid nitrogen may start coming out next! Not only that, if the street under the manhole cover got too hot, the manhole cover could pop off from the pressure and potentially cause serious damage. The memory of a steam pipe explosion a few years ago in the city came instantly to mind and made me think I should call for help and not just ignore the situation. When that steam pipe exploded, it caused havoc to the people in the vicinity. A woman died of a heart attack while running from the scene and a couple of guys in a truck were severely burned by the heat of the steam. Read more about that story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/nyregion/19explode.html
Although I could tell the manhole cover the cable was meant to go under was not steaming or in danger of exploding, I crossed the street and made a call to 311, our non-emergency help line. I told the operator the reason for my call and after speaking with her supervisor about the situation, she told me she'd patch me through to 911. A 911 dispatcher got on the line so I relayed what I found to her. She said she'd send a FDNY truck over to check it out. Within about two minutes, I could hear the siren of the truck coming. Here it is at the back:
I figured eh, since I have my camera with me, I might as well keep photographing. :) I flagged down the truck to let the guys know I was the one who called in the situation. They were pretty mellow about the whole deal. They looked at the cable and decided to close the valves to the tanks.
Squad Company 18, you rock!
While this was going on, a 311 operator called me to make sure the emergency services guys were with me. I said yes and thanked her for checking.
A police cruiser pulled up to check out the scene as well. Two officers got out. The fireman above pointed me out and told them I called the job in. The cops walked over to me and one of them asked what me happened. I told him and he replied that such things happen once in a while. Then he thanked me for calling it in and I said, "Sure, no problem" and we all went our separate ways. Ho hum, just another day in town. :)
Cheers to 311, FDNY, and NYPD for doing a great job responding to this non-emergency so quickly and professionally!