Incredible Image Grabs Attention
Sunday night's underground explosion left 2,000 customers in the dark in downtown Omaha. An image from that outage is making the rounds, chalking up millions of views on social media sties.
UNO grad student Stephanie Sands was in her apartment near 16th & Howard St. Sunday night when she felt the explosion. iPhone in hand, she snapped a couple pictures looking to the west.
"I really didn't think it was an outstanding picture it wasn't something that blew me away at all," Sands explained.
She sent it to a few friends, who thought it was cool. Then they sent it to others until it eventually ended up on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. More than one million views later, the photo has 2,500 comments on Reddit, and has been re-tweeted dozens of times. Initially Stephanie had no idea, but it’s not the talk of her favorite coffee shop.
“I went to lab (at UNO) yesterday and someone was looking at it on Reddit and I was like ‘what?’ I took that picture," Sands described.
"The next day I see 1.5 million hits and it went viral pretty well and I saw the article on the internet and said this is a lot bigger than I originally thought it would be,” said Greg Sechser, the manager at Howlin’ Hounds Coffee Shop.
Some of the discussion turned to if the photo was real, or had been altered. Stephanie said she only saw one flash of fire from underground in the street. Though the picture looks like a row of flaming manholes, the street lights may be reproducing the pattern because the pavement is wet.
"It's completely real, I don't know how I would edit it,” Sands noted. "The reflection was actually from the street because it was so foggy and wet that that's what caused the cascading manhole fire to appear that way."
As of Wednesday afternoon, OPPD says only one customer remained in the dark in downtown Omaha. They did have generators in the meantime.