VIDEO: An underground explosion engulfed a Queens sidewalk, sending flames shooting several feet into the air and injuring a man who happened to be standing on the grate at the precise wrong moment, surveillance video exclusively obtained by NBC New York showed.
Barry West was walking along Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans around 5:30 p.m. on July 22 to pay a cellphone bill when the sudden blast occurred without warning. It knocked the 57-year-old father to the ground on his chest, video shows, but he was able to get away before he was burned any worse.
He appeared shaken up, and friends told NBC New York that West suffered second-degree burns. He was said to be in good spirits as he recovers at Nassau University Medical Center, but still stunned by what happened.