New York skyline bathed in blue light after power plant explosion

New York skyline turned a bizarre blue on Thursday night after an explosion at a Con Edison plant – causing panic and confusion for millions across the city.

Bewildered residents took to the streets and shared images on social media after the haze filled the sky at around 9.20pm for three minutes after the blast at the substation in Astoria, Queens. 

Power was cut at many addresses across the area including the nearby La Guardia airport, which was forced to ground all flights for more than an hour during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

Officials at the notorious Rikers Island jail were also forced to use backup generators when their electricity shut off for 25 minutes and there were delays on the subway.

It is thought the blue aura was caused by a shorted-out power line, which can occur when live wires touch each other, grounded objects or the earth itself.

A ‘power flash’, as it is known, can be a combination of blue, green, turquoise and orange, originating from damaged electrical equipment causing arcing electrical discharges to light up the sky. 

There were no injuries in the blast, the fire was quickly contained, and many saw the lighter side of the mystifying incident.

The NYPD jokingly confirmed that aliens had not invaded, while others shared memes comparing scenes from science-fiction films.      

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NYC Fire Wire confirmed that a explosion had occurred in the North Queens neighborhood at a Con Edison subplant

The explosion occurred around 9.20pm and no injuries have been reported

The explosion occurred around 9.20pm and no injuries have been reported

The explosion occurred around 9.20pm and no injuries have been reported

Residents who lived near the Con Ed power plant saw the bright blue and white flashes close-up, as it lit up the New York skyline

Residents who lived near the Con Ed power plant saw the bright blue and white flashes close-up, as it lit up the New York skyline

The NYPD 114th informed on what was happening with the explosion

The 43rd Precinct had a little fun with the news

The NYPD 114th informed on what was happening with the explosion while the 43rd Precinct had a little fun with the news

The incident unfolded when Big Apple residents streamed onto Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with their clips and pictures of the blue cloud hovering over the city. 

Many people were initially confused at what was going on, and questioned whether the lights were coming from a concert venue. 

Some also reported hearing weird sounds coming from the blast site. 

The NYPD then put the conspiracy theories to bed and confirmed that the blast had been caused by a power surge at the substation. 

‘Investigating a transformer explosion at Astoria East North Queens Con Ed power plant,’ the NYPD 114th Precint said on Twitter. ‘Please avoid 20th Ave 31 st.’ 

NYPD News posted: ‘ADVISORY: The lights you have seen throughout the city appear to have been from a transformer explosion at a Con Ed facility in Queens. The fire is under control, will update as more info becomes available. Follow @fdny, @NYPD114pct and @conedison.’ 

Con Ed added said on Thursday night that it was working with the NYPD on the matter and would provide updates over time. 

Initial figures suggested that only 76 homes may have suffered a blackout as a result of the blast. 

‘The NYPD and the FDNY are on scene at a Con Ed facility in Astoria where an apparent transformer explosion just lit up the sky over the city,’ said Mayor Bill de Blasio. ‘As soon as we have more information, we will share it.’ 

People stand at the gate of a Con Edison facility watching as personnel rush to handle the explosion

People stand at the gate of a Con Edison facility watching as personnel rush to handle the explosion

Viewed from the Upper West Side of Manhattan

Viewed from the Upper West Side of Manhattan

Law enforcement personnel stand in front of a Con Edison grounds to monitor passersby

Law enforcement personnel stand in front of a Con Edison grounds to monitor passersby

Law enforcement personnel stand in front of a Con Edison grounds to monitor passersby

Reports soon came in that La Guardia had lost power and that the airport had closed as a result. 

‘Small, blue explosion near LaGuardia has knocked out power at the airport and surrounding area,’ said user Mason Mccoy. ‘Unclear what the cause is.. everything (exiting, boarding, security, etc.) is frozen until they figure it out. #lga’

The user would later update Twitter when the airport had restored its power. 

‘Update: Power has been restored but activity still at a stand still,’ he added. ‘Passengers are able to de-plane via stairs. Looks like departing passengers are being held back until security check points are back up and running.’ 

According to the utility outage map for Con Edison, there were only 76 who were said to have lost power. 

A man named Nick Riccardo shared a video of the actual explosion as it took place outside his window

A man named Nick Riccardo shared a video of the actual explosion as it took place outside his window

A man named Nick Riccardo shared a video of the actual explosion as it took place outside his window

The bright blue light is seen on the rooftops over Queens on Thursday evening 

The bright blue light is seen on the rooftops over Queens on Thursday evening 

Residents walked out onto the streets in Queens to catch a glimpse of the bizarre sky 

Residents walked out onto the streets in Queens to catch a glimpse of the bizarre sky 

According to the utility outage map for Con Edison, there were only 76 who were said to have lost power

According to the utility outage map for Con Edison, there were only 76 who were said to have lost power

 

Con Ed's tweet

Mayor Bill de Blasio's tweet

Both Con Ed and Mayor Bill de Blasio posted that the fire was being worked on by a joint coalition 

Spectators were mesmerized by the bright flashes of blue that illuminated the cloudy night sky. Folks all the way out in Jersey City reported seeing the flashy lights.

And even the 43rd Precinct of the NYPD couldn’t help but poke fun at the possible alien invasion. 

A man named Nick Riccardo shared a video of the actual explosion as it took place outside his window. 

‘The transformer explosion in Astoria was… right outside my window,’ he said. ‘So bright I couldn’t look directly at it.’

One user said: ‘Anyone else see this blue light in the sky just now in Brooklyn or NYC? #trippystuff #Skyline.’

Karol Markowicz said: ‘Wtf if this insane bright blue light over Brooklyn?!?’  

Spectators were mesmerized by the bright flashes of blue that illuminated the cloudy night sky

Folks all the way out in Jersey City reported seeing the flashy lights

Spectators were mesmerized by the bright flashes of blue that illuminated the cloudy night sky. Folks all the way out in Jersey City reported seeing the flashy lights