Businesses without power after fire, manhole explosion

Updated:

Several downtown Atlanta businesses are out of power as crews work to fix some underground cable lines that caught fire Monday, causing multiple manhole covers to blow off.

ATLANTA - Several businesses are out of power as crews work to fix some underground cable lines that caught fire Monday, causing multiple manhole covers to blow off.

Broad Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Mitchell Street is closed. Channel 2's Sophia Choi is near the area where about 10 businesses are without power.

She said crews had to shut off the power, so they could get down to the cables that burned. The cables run from manhole to manhole.

Authorities told Choi the pressure from the fire caused about five manhole covers, weighing about 425 pounds each, to blow off. The pressure even caused some of the manholes to crack in half. Crews are still trying to figure out exactly what caused the fire. One possibility is that the cables rubbed against each other from the vibrations of cars above. That friction may have been enough to spark an electrical arc.

Witnesses said they could hear the booms, at about 7 p.m. on Monday, when a Channel 2 Action News crew first arrived in the area. One person provided a cellphone video of the damage shortly after it happened. In the video, smoke is seen coming up from one of the manholes.

Richard Miller sad this situation is costing them a whole day's worth of money at his pharmacy business.

"A lot of my business is phone-in business and Internet call-in business. So we're completely shut down. We're going to lose a full day of business," Miller said.

Georgia Power said those businesses will be without power for at least eight hours on Tuesday, possibly into the early evening.

A retired officer is directing traffic in the area. Watch live updates on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4.



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