CORONA — A string of businesses and apartments were left without power after a large manhole explosion turned their street into what one witness called a "war zone," officials said.
The manhole fire on Northern Boulevard and 96th Street was reported at 10:36 p.m. on Wednesday, according to an FDNY spokesman.
The fire spread to other manholes and witnesses said flames shot out of the street and smoke came out of sewers.
“It sounded like we were in a war zone,” said Armando Herrera, 23, who works for a restoration company and drove over when he first hearing about the fire.
“The manhole just blew up — the top blew off and shot back down again.”
Alison Perrenod said "there was a flame shooting out of the street and thick black smoke billowing out of the corner sewers" and the street was shut down through the night.
A Con Ed spokesman said the explosions were caused by an equipment failure, which usually happens after salt is poured on city streets during the winter drips down, damaging the underground wires.
There were no reported injuries during the fire.
Power on Northern Boulevard was restored Wednesday night.