OMAHA (KPTM) – The Omaha Police Department says power was cut to areas of downtown Omaha around 17th and St. Mary Sunday evening after an underground fire in the sewer. The Omaha Public Power District cut power from 16th to 19th Streets downtown, from Harney to St. Mary’s. FOX 42 News saw firefighters working over a manhole cover. The Omaha Public Power District says the fire started underground with its electrical equipment. OPPD Vice President Tim Burke spoke with FOX 42 reporter Leah Uko.
Burke relayed what he thinks caused the fire. “My guess is that it’s been dry, unusually dry, and with the moisture we’ve (most recently) had,” he said, “we’ve probably had some moisture get into cable or tape, something like that could have created the outage. That’s what our crews are so good about doing. They’ll assess that, make the needed repairs and they’ll energize the circuits and get the power back on.”
Several manhole covers blew out of the ground. We talked to people in the area who say they heard the loud boom. The fire was first reported around 6pm. FOX 42 News was told shortly after the fire started that the area around the fire was evacuated in case of any toxic fumes. None were eventually reported.