Businesses feel fiscal effects of manhole explosion

by: Tom Regan Updated:

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ATLANTA - Georgia Power told Channel 2 Action News it plans to send strands of burned electrical cable to an outside
laboratory for analysis in hopes of determining the cause of a fiery underground explosion in downtown Atlanta.


The explosion sent manhole covers flying, authorities said.

The blast, which happened Monday night about 7 p.m., was followed a fire inside a sub-surface electrical vault in the area of Broad Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Although no one was hurt, the explosion rattled businesses nearby and knocked out power. Some witnesses initially thought a bomb had
gone off.

The five manhole covers, each weighing 425 pounds, flew up to six feet in the air. Some witnesses said they saw flames shoot out of the holes.

"Just an enormous sound. It was frightening, and sent chills through my body. I couldn't figure out what it was," Jimmy Coleman told Channel 2's Tom Regan.

Regan spoke with several business owners on Broad Street who were affected by the power outage. One convenience store owner showed Regan minor damage to this front door from the explosion. He also said he was worried that food in his store might spoil without power.

"The freezer food, and the cooler. Some of the items are going to be damaged," said store owner Muhammed Miah.

Dozens of utility-crew workers spent Tuesday removing hundreds of feet of damaged power cable from underneath the street. Georgia Power said it hopes to have power restored to 10 businesses in the area by early evening.