Why did the covers explode off manholes around downtown Cleveland?

Incidents are reported in cities across the country during colder months

Why did the covers explode off manholes around downtown Cleveland?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Thursday was a busy night for emergency crews, as they worked to put out several fires caused by underground explosions. Those explosions blew the covers off several manholes around downtown Cleveland.

Why did the covers explode off manholes around downtown Cleveland?

"Just shook the windows. It almost sounded like an Indians game when it goes off for fireworks, you know, but it was a little it louder," said one bystander.

"If I was walking when that boom came, you'd have found me on the ground. That's for sure," said another.

We did some digging and found out that, while frightening, manhole explosions are not uncommon. They happen more frequently during the cold winter months, because of a buildup of snow melt, snow and moisture. That can cause electrical problems beneath the ground, which contributes to the problem.

In January of 2017, the City of Indianapolis decided to nail down the covers of all its manholes to prevent them from shooting off and hitting people.

The City of New York reports that manhole accidents are common, with several dozens happening each winter. They’re largely caused by that combination of chemicals built up underground.

First Energy reported about 580 customers without power on Thursday night, but service was restored by Friday morning.

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