Sewer Fire Leaves OPPD Customers in the Dark
Omaha, NE - OPPD crews are working to restore power after a fire in an underground electrical vault blew off manhole covers and knocked out power to downtown Omaha.
Omaha police say the fire happened around 5:30 Sunday night near 17th and St. Mary's Avenue.
"We heard a really loud bang, looked out our windows and saw a big flash and smoke rising up. We thought maybe it was a car that exploded," said Zac Malsam, who lives nearby.
Two underground electrical vaults caught fire and exploded, sending three manhole covers shooting up into the air, according to Omaha Fire Department.
A perimeter was established to keep everyone safe in the area. Firefighters closed the area and made sure nobody was parked, driving, or walking near any manhole covers.
"They blow in series, it creates pressure and blows the manhole cover off. A blue flame will emit from that hole so just keeping everyone safe, keeping everyone back was our main concern," said Battalion Chief Daniel Olsen.
A restaurant was evacuated and it just so happens there were OPPD employees inside who were able to quickly make some phone calls and help firefighters.
Originally 2,000 OPPD customers were without power on Sunday. That number is down to about 100 as of Monday morning but OPPD says it's hard to pinpoint the exact number.
The outage is from Harney to Jones and 12th to 22nd Street. It mostly affects large businesses in the area including OPPD headquarters. They are working to relocate their call center until power is restored.