Another Underground Explosion

It's now happened twice in one week.

Manhole covers exploding due to underground explosions and it has some people worried.

Don Orent was enjoying a little TV just after noon on Sunday, when it happened.

"I heard a big boom and it shook the house," he said. "It felt like a car ran into the house."

An underground explosion at the intersection of 39th and Washington blew a manhole cover completely off.

A woman who lives on the corner said she was outside with her dog Sunday when she heard the explosion. She looked toward the intersection and saw the manhole cover shooting up into the sky. She said the force of the explosion was so strong that it shattered the manhole cover into dozens of pieces.

"I can't imagine because they're real thick cast iron," Orent said. "I can't imagine what it took to do that and shake this house this far away?"

Orent lives three houses down from the intersection.

A spokesperson with Metropolitan Utilities District said crews found a gas leak in a four inch main that had somehow ruptured and ignited.

A similar incident happened in downtown Omaha last weekend.

"The problem involved a faulty cable," Omaha Public Power District spokeswoman Jodi Baker said.

An underground electrical equipment fire knocked power out for more than 2,000 OPPD customers.

OPPD crews had to replace several other cables that were burned up in the underground explosion.

Today, a small area remains without power.

OPPD crews hope to have street lights and traffic signals entirely restored later this week.

Meanwhile, back at 39th and Washington, Don Orent said things could have been much worse.

"You know, I use that intersection when I leave the house and I've thought about it what if I was sitting over that manhole?"

OPPD crews have to replace dozens of cables that were burned up in the incident last weekend.

All customers had their power back on by Thursday.

MUD crews replaced the ruptured gas line.

Four homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Just what caused the explosions is being investigated by the two utilities.


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