Dyker Heights driver suffers severe burns in pipe blast

DYKER HEIGHTS - A Dyker Heights tow-truck driver on the way back from a job suffered severe burns in the Midtown steam pipe explosion Wednesday.

Greg McCullough, 23, who works at a Shell gas station, was swallowed up in a gaping hole on Lexington Avenue after the aging steam pipe burst. Rescue workers fished McCullough, who suffered burns on 80 percent of his body due to the steam, out of his tow truck.

He's now in a medically induced comma at New York Presbyterian Hospital-New York Weill Cornell Medical Center.

McCullough was among several people who were taken to area hospitals after the blast near Grand Center Terminal. Officials say 45 people were injured. Police say a 51-year-old Hawthorne, N.J. woman, Lois Baumerich, died of a heart attack after the incident.

Con Edison is investigating the incident, which some New Yorkers initially thought was terrorism-related.

Tests of the air around the steam pipe explosion site have not turned up any asbestos, but the toxin has turned up in debris and dust from the area. Experts maintain it does not pose any serious health threat.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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