Dozens of Manhole Fires Cause Scattered Power Outages After Blizzard

By Julie Shapiro on February 10, 2013 11:07am | Updated on February 10, 2013 7:41pm

 A manhole exploded and caused minor damage to a retail store on Madison Avenue on Feb. 9, 2013.
A manhole exploded and caused minor damage to a retail store on Madison Avenue on Feb. 9, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

NEW YORK — Manhole fires popped up all across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in the wake of Winter Storm Nemo, causing scattered power outages that have left hundreds of New Yorkers in the dark.

Con Edison has responded to "several dozen" manhole fires since the blizzard hit, a spokesman for the utility said Sunday morning, leaving more than 1,800 customers in the city without power as of 7:30 p.m.

The manhole fires start when salty melted snow gets into underground electrical equipment, corroding the protective layer around the wires, causing them to smoke or begin shooting flames, the spokesman said.

One Con Edison worker was injured in a manhole explosion just after 5 p.m. Sunday at Thatford and Hegeman avenues in Brooklyn, the FDNY said. The worker was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition.

As of Sunday evening, the fires and explosions had knocked out electricity to more than 1,200 customers in Brooklyn, nearly 350 in Manhattan and more than 200 in Queens.

Con Ed expected to restore power to all of the city's customers by early Monday morning, according to the utility's online outage map.

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