Thursday, July 19, 2007

Spot of trouble on the commute

(Hi. Barry here. While Doc is on travel, I will be posting here occasionally. I'm kin to him, but please don't hold that against me.)

As I'm sure anyone within reach of the Intertubes already knows, there was a teensy spot of trouble near Grand Central Station last night... a massive steam pipe exploded, sending a geyser of live steam, "mud" (more on that in a second), rocks and miscellaneous debris twenty stories into the air and blasting a huge hole in Lexington Avenue.

I can't hope to add anything to the voluminous coverage of this incident, except to relate another incident that took place in my office last night. The explosion occurred just before 6PM, at the height of the evening rush hour, and shortly thereafter a number of us gathered in the Network Operations Center, where a local news channel was tuned in and patched through to the overhead projector.

The initial images were really startling - the steam-geyser was achieving some incredible heights, and it was evident that the steam pipes had taken out quite a bit of additional infrastructure with them when they blew, as there was an enormous amount of debris in the mix.

"Damn," one of our senior engineers observed. "Looks like it took out a sewer line, too."

One of the new guys objected.

"The news says that's mud."

The senior guy said, "Dude, I've worked in IT for over 20 years now. Don't you think I can recognize a fountain of shit when I see one?"