Hundreds Still Without Power after Upper West Side Manhole Fires

WABC - July 15, 2017

by Josh Einiger

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Utility crews spent Friday working to get all customers back on the grid after a series of manhole fires knocked out power to dozens of buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

The fires, possibly sparked by the heat, damaged a series of electrical feeders and left approximately 646 customers in the immediate area without power.

At least three manholes on Broadway, south of West 72nd Street, caught fire just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Smoke spewed from them for hours, while as many as three others also began smoking.

It took until 4 p.m. Friday for all power to be fully restored. The cause of the manhole fires is still under review.

Now residents are coping with ear splitting, temple throbbing, bone rattling noise due to a giant generator providing power to at least two large apartment buildings.

At one building, residents have been told to get used to the noise.

The generator may be in place for more than a week.

The ensuing investigation will look into why the fires led to widespread damage to electrical feeders at the intersection.

The extreme heat and power usage Thursday afternoon may have played a part in sparking the fires, which coincidentally broke out on the 40th anniversary of the citywide 1977 blackout.

No injuries or damages were reported.