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Transformer fire closes 34th Street, 3 buildings evacuated
NEW YORK -- Midtown traffic was disrupted and people were evacuated from three commercial buildings near Penn Station on Monday after an underground transformer fire created a heavy smoke condition in the busy area, fire department officials said.
One unconfirmed report said two people suffered minor injuries. Four hours after the fire, a Con Edison spokesman said the fire was out and at least one lane of traffic had been reopened.
The fire scene was across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the site of next month's Republican National Convention. Construction of security barriers and other facilities for the convention already is in progress, adding to congestion in the area.
Unconfirmed reports said the transformer fire started with an explosion in an underground vault about 9:15 a.m., sending heavy black smoke up through subway gratings.