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Nobody hurt in underground electrical fire in El Paso

EPFD on scene of underground fire in Downtown El Paso

EL PASO, Texas - Officials say nobody has been hurt in an underground electrical fire in downtown El Paso that led to some evacuations.

An underground fire in reignited Wednesday afternoon in Downtown El Paso, but the El Paso Fire Department said the blaze was under control by about 1 p.m.

A couple of blocks were evacuated for several hours amid the fire that sent flames and black smoke pouring through a manhole.

"It's a little scary not knowing what's below there, huh?" asked fire department spokesman Carlos Briano. ''It's different from fighting a structure fire because they can pull ceiling, they can pull framing and assess what's happening. Down there it's a little different so we do rely heavily on our partners."

Those partners included El Paso Electric, which gave the Fire Department guidance on how to avoid sensitive areas that could have led to complications.

ABC-7 spotted emergency crews working at the intersection of San Antonio and Oregon streets, where smoke could be seen coming from one of the manholes.  Video from viewer Carlos Gutierrez show a plume of flame four to five feet long shooting out of one manhole.

A power failure in the area forced businesses in the area to close early.  Bruce Yung Kim's SK Beauty Supply was among them.  "The smoke came first, and then the fire again," said Kim, describing the on-again off-again battle to control the fire initially thought to be out before noon.

In the early afternoon, fire crews returned.  No one was injured, but traffic was blocked off on San Antonio Street for several hours.

Fire crews have not determined the exact cause of the fire, but it is believed to be electrical in nature.


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