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Fuses blow in Salem, exploding a manhole cover and taking out power for 23 customers

Posted by Your Town  August 2, 2012 09:32 PM

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An early morning explosion Thursday in a manhole cover on a residential stretch of Route 1A triggered an eight hour power outage for 23 homes, a National Grid spokesman said.

"The old cable had to be removed and a new cable pulled underground," spokesman David Graves said Thursday night via e-mail.

The explosion occurred at 2:45 a.m., after two fuses blew on a power line on Mall Street, which runs off Bridge Street, which is also Route 1A. The blown fuses caused a fault in an underground cable on Mall Street. National Grid crews worked through the night, finally restoring power at 11:20 a.m., Graves said.

The loud explosion jolted awake some residents who have endured the years of traffic delays and tie-ups due to the state's $1.7 million reconstruction of Bridge Street. "It was around 2 a.m. and you just heard ba-ba-boom," said Joanne Jacobsen, who is staying at her daughter's Bridge Street home. "Then the power was lost."

Salem Fire received several calls reporting a loud bang at about 2:37 a.m. Fire crews arrived to find smoke swirling from the manhole cover, but no visible sign of fire, dispatcher Jeff Brown said.

"We didn't do anything," Brown said."We just stood by, waiting for National Grid to show up. It was an isolated incident."

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