Saturday, 2:15 PM
Underground fire causes explosions in Taunton
By Stewart Bishop, Globe Correspondent
An underground fire in downtown Taunton caused a series of explosions today and sent flames shooting out of manholes, authorities said. One manhole cover crashed through the window of a vacant store and damaged a tuxedo shop.
"There was smoke and flames everywhere," said Jose Bejarano, owner of Tux Towne on Main Street, who described hearing at least a dozen explosions. "My front window was cracked, and there was smoke pouring into my shop."
One passer-by was hospitalized with a concussion, but it was unclear what caused the injury.
Mayor Charles Crowley said several businesses had suffered smoke damage. Crowley said the fire was caused by a faulty connection in underground wiring that resulted in arcing electric currents, which then ignited, triggering the blasts around 12:30 p.m.
"As a precaution the immediate area surrounding Main and Trescott streets has been evacuated," Crowley said.
In addition, he said, electricity in the vicinity has been shut off and might remain so until morning.