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National Grid working to repair a 25K volt cable that may have caused manhole explosions

Dec 10, 2023

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — National Grid tells 2 On Your Side there were four manhole explosions on Saturday night on Edward Street, near Main and Goodell.

City officials say an initial investigation shows an underground electric cable likely caught fire and caused the chain of explosions.

National Grid workers also told 2 On Your Side they were replacing a cable carrying 25,000 volts.

2 On Your Side is told the cables are around 100 years old and the city has been replacing some of them around town prior to the manhole explosions along Edward Street.

Despite this, National Grid officials say it's under investigation and they're still determining a cause.

As of Tuesday night, four of five commercial buildings that lost power now have it back.

That's except for the Cyclorama Building on Franklin and Edward.

David Bertola -- a spokesperson for National Grid -- says there was a small fire in the building and they are investigating whether the explosions caused it.

Power will be restored there once an inspection is completed.

There were no injuries from the explosions.

However, this is not the first time there's been a manhole explosion in the city.

2 On Your Side asked Bertola if the company plans to take any steps to prevent future explosions.

"We're always assessing and looking at the frequency of these kinds of things and so I'm sure that will be looked at. We're in the middle of an investigation into what caused the incident. So that may be part of the conversation as well," Bertola said.

"We don't know the cause of Saturday's incident but a manhole cover can dislodge when a spark from underground wiring ignites gas when the manhole. Dislodged manholes aren't common in underground networks like those in the City of Buffalo."

A spokesman for the city says Edward Street could open back up as soon as late Wednesday or Thursday.

National Grid also had crews from Syracuse out making repairs, but they're expected to leave tonight.