Fire in Underground Transformer Snarls Midtown Traffic
An underground transformer fire sent acrid smoke billowing down 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan yesterday, snarling morning traffic and forcing fire officials to close 34th Street near Pennsylvania Station. The fire, which was reported around 9:15 a.m. at 211 West 34th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, was less than a block from Madison Square Garden, where the Republican National Convention begins next month. Concrete security barriers recently placed around the Garden have worsened traffic in the already congested area. By 9:30, the fire had left intersections gridlocked and traffic backed up on Seventh Avenue from 34th to 39th Streets.