Blast misses News Corp.

Hundreds evacuate office building

A small explosion Monday caused by a chemical spill rocked some floors in a Midtown Manhattan building that houses the headquarters of News Corp., but the company's digs were not affected and its operations continued uninterrupted.

"No News Corp. employees or operations were affected by the incident, and there were no evacuations of News Corp. staff," a spokeswoman for the conglomerate said.

Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, which have their studios there, continued on the air without a hiccup throughout the process despite extensive disorder outside the building, where parts of Avenue of the Americas were sealed off.

The staff at interactive program guide firm Gemstar-TV Guide — a controlling stake in which News Corp. recently agreed to sell to Macrovision — was not in the building. Even before the sale, the Gemstar team signed a lease for a new office location at Bryant Park; the company will start operating from there today.

Meanwhile, the New York City Fire Department did not allow anyone into the News Corp. headquarters building around midday, but no one below the 42nd floor was evacuated.

Only companies housed on the four top floors, 42-45, were affected by the explosion. According to Reuters, one person was injured, and several hundred people were evacuated from those floors.

Property manager Cushman & Wakefield said "a minor chemical spill in the 45th floor mechanical space of the building" had caused the problems. It occurred during a routine inspection by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the office said.