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    Fires and explosions make headlines around the country on a daily basis. Set a Google alert for the term “home explosion,” “apartment fire” or “pipeline accident,” and your inbox will be inundated with updates.

    Here is a sampling of a few news items from around the country recently:

    Asbestos fears after NYC steam-pipe explosion

    From The New York Times, July 20: A day after a steam pipe exploded beneath Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, showering the Flatiron district with asbestos-filled muck, blocks of the neighborhood remained cordoned off, leaving residents and workers wondering how soon they would be allowed to return. No one was seriously injured in the explosion.

    Joseph J. Esposito, the commissioner of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, said at a news conference that the cleanup process would take days to complete. “Asbestos is a killer, so we have to be very careful with how we clean the buildings, clean the streets, and that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said.

    According to a spokesman for Con Edison, crews would soon begin power-washing the exteriors of buildings, a first step toward their reopening. It was unknown how long it would take to clean the affected buildings.

    That response was unsatisfying for Renee Typaldos, who owns Merakia, a Greek steakhouse at 5 West 21st Street. Typaldos, 66, said she had not been able to get into her restaurant since the explosion early the morning of the 19th, and she was forced to cancel more than 100 weekend reservations.

    “I’m freaked out,” she said. “We’re going to have to trash all the food.”

    On the 20th, police blocked traffic from entering a zone that stretched from West 19th Street to West 23rd Street between Broadway and Avenue of the Americas. Subways were again running through the area, but more than 20 bus routes were affected.

    Police officers, some wearing protective masks, redirected pedestrians, many of whom stopped to take pictures of the scene. Several workers in white-and-blue protective suits were stationed near the crater left by the explosion, which still contained large chunks of the street and other debris.

    Asbestos fears after NYC steam-pipe explosion

    A steam-pipe explosion in New York City’s Flatiron district on July 19 coated cars, buildings and people with asbestos-filled muck, concerning residents.

    Three injured in Oklahoma explosion

    From KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City, July 18: Emergency crews responded to an explosion and fire at a disposal well in Kingfisher County, OK.

    Kingfisher County emergency management officials say the explosion occurred shortly after 3 p.m. July 18 at a saltwater disposal well three miles south of Highway 33 and Calumet Road. The wells are used to dispose of wastewater from oil and natural gas operations.

    Three people were injured and taken to the the hospital. Their conditions are unknown.

    Authorities say the fire at the disposal well has been extinguished and that no evacuations were required.

    The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.

    Devon Energy released this statement to News 4:

    “At about 3 p.m. Wednesday there was ignition and a fire at a Devon saltwater disposal well facility in Kingfisher County, Okla. Three workers employed by contract firms were taken to local hospitals.

    “The fire was quickly contained and the site is secure. All other employees have been accounted for and are safe. The cause of the fire is under investigation; Devon is coordinating with its contractors, local authorities and government agencies.”

    Names released in NJ home explosion

    From Associated Press, July 7: Authorities have released the names of a couple killed in an explosion at their New Jersey home.

    The Gloucester County prosecutor’s office said John Paladino, 73, and Carole Paladino, 72, were the only occupants of the Newfield house when the blast occurred at 6:15 a.m. July 7.

    On July 10, authorities said the explosion was caused by a gas build-up of some kind.

    Multiple fire crews responded to the blast, along with township police, a state police arson-bomb unit and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.