Manhole covers blown sky high in downtown explosions
By Laura Katsirdakis
Anyone who happened to be walking through the Clarence and
King St. area in downtown London Monday night may have thought
the apocalypse had come. An underground explosion caused several
manhole covers to be blown several feet in the air, with flames
shooting out of them.
At roughly 7 p.m. Monday night the area of Clarence Street
between Dundas and York Sts., and of King St. between Clarence
and Wellington Sts. was evacuated, said Const. Paul Martin,
spokesperson for the London Police Department.
The London Transit Commission was notified and stopped running
buses through these areas, Martin confirmed. The roads were
still closed at 10 a.m. yesterday morning.
“There was an underground network cable fault on a secondary
cable,” explained Nancy Hutton, manager of communications
for London Hydro. “This ignited and then the explosion
occurred — we are still not sure of the cause.”
According to Hutton, crews were still assessing the situation
on scene and trying to determine the extent of the damage.
Roads were expected to re-open by approximately 11 a.m. yesterday,
Hutton confirmed the explosion caused four manhole covers
to blow off, adding no one was hurt in the incident.
“Not to this extent has this ever happened before [in
London],” she said.
One of the firefighters on the scene witnessed two manhole
covers, a half block apart, blow 12 feet into the air, said
Rick Jefferson, public information officer for London Fire
Services. “There was a rush of flame [from the manholes]
which burned itself out and then a light haze of smoke in [Galleria]
Mall and other businesses in the area.”
“Our vehicles were used to control traffic in the area
around [Galleria] Mall and [firefighters] were dispatched to
evacuate people out of the danger area,” he explained.
“We were told not to park over the manhole covers and
[one truck] was repositioning just as a manhole exploded,” Jefferson