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NYC Sidewalk Grate Explodes as Man Walks Over It, Suffers Second-Degree Burns: 'Hurt Like Hell'

·2-min read
NYC Sidewalk Grate Explodes
NYC Sidewalk Grate Explodes

NBC NY

A man in Queens, New York suffered second-degree burns last week after an explosion occurred while he walked over grates on the sidewalk.

Barry West, 57, was caught in the flames on July 22 at around 5:30 pm as he was headed to T-Mobile to pay his cellphone bill, according to NBC New York.

A surveillance video obtained by the outlet shows West as the blast occurred under him and he managed to walk away.

He was then transported to Nassau University Medical Center to treat his wounds.

His friend, Carrol Hamblin told NBC New York she believes "God just picked him up and put him out of that fire."

"Just a miracle," Hamblin said. "Nobody but God could do that. Not a man."

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West spoke to NY Daily News on Tuesday, while still hospitalized that he's still in bad shape from the incident.

"I feel lousy, lousy," the victim said.

Recalling the incident, the 57-year-old said, "I don't remember too much. It was — boom! — out of nowhere. I wasn't able to move and it hurt like hell."

"I lost some skin all over," he added.

Con Edison is investigating the incident.

"The safety of the public, our customers, and our employees is our number one priority," a spokesperson told NY Daily News. "We are fully 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."

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A T-Mobile employee — who dialed 911 after West was caught in the flames — told the outlet, "It was loud, like a bomb went off ... It was very close to the store. When it exploded, I felt the heat on my face."

A nearby store owner alleged Con Edison had investigated the grate the day before West's accident for a similar explosion that damaged a pizzeria next to the T-Mobile store.

"This was preventable, but Con Ed didn't take action," the pizzeria's owner claimed to the NY Daily News. "They didn't do anything on Wednesday."

Con Edison did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request to comment.

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