NYU spent four years and $120 million to tear up Mercer Street and install its new, eco-friendly subterranean power plant. Too bad it's currently on fire.

A reader says the pricey co-generation plant (it's designed to recycle energy by generating electricity and heat simultaneously) is "currently spewing tons of smoke." Firefighters are on the scene now to determine the problem. Another pic is below.

Update: FDNY spokesman Tom Schwaber tells us firefighters responded to a call at 5:36 p.m. reporting a small debris fire that broke out in the building's first floor: "Some debris lit on fire, but it's nothing serious." Phew.

(Thanks to Gawker commenter kazx for the pics)