ALERT: Police searching for missing college student

Multiple underground explosions close parts of Broad Street

RICHMOND, Va. – Broad Street has reopened after multiple underground explosions near the Marriott Hotel at Broad and 5th Streets in downtown Richmond.

Officials said around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday approximately six manhole covers were blown off within a two-block area. The blast was so forceful, one manhole cover was broken in half.

Manhole covers blown off, smoke seen rising from manholes downtown. PHOTO: Shawn OConnell

To blame was an underground power line that caught fire resulting in the explosions.

Representatives from the Department of Public Utilities, along with Dominion Power, were on scene. After officials determined there was a large scale wiring issue underground, Dominion began work on repairs. Hours later and the electricity was back on.

Dominion Virginia Power could not specifically pinpoint what caused the cable to fail.

“In many cases we don’t know why; it could have been an animal chewing on the cable, it could have been nicked,” said spokesman Rob Richardson. “We just don’t know.”

The hotel manager first called the fire department after seeing smoke from the manhole.

Broad Street between 2nd and 7th Streets was closed for an hour, to cars and pedestrian traffic.

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