Underground Blast Breaks Store Window, Temporarily Closes Busy Center City Street

Broken glass left on 20th Street

What to Know

  • An underground blast caused the window of a Center City dry cleaners to break Tuesday morning.
  • The blast left the front window of Son's Cleaners blown out. No one was hurt.
  • PECO reported no power outages in the area.

An underground explosion caused a broken storefront window and another traffic problem in Center City Philadelphia.

The underground blast along 20th Street near Chestnut Street around 7:30 a.m. caused a manhole cover to blow off and left the front of nearby Son's Cleaners broken.

The impact also caused a large metal grate to break into pieces.

Sarah Kim was luckily away from the register and handling clothes when the front of her store blew out.

Haviv David, owner of neighboring Mama's Vegetarian, was inside his eatery when he said he heard the loud blast.

"I heard a big explosion," David said. David, who is from Israel, initially thought it was a bomb but saw it was something else when he ran outside to see smoke pouring from underground. 

No one was hurt inside the stores or on the street.

"Thank God, thank God, thank God," David said. "We're lucky we are still alive."

The owners of Mama's and Son's don't know when they will be able to reopen.

PECO and fire crews closed 20th Street from Chestnut to Market streets as they investigated midday. The road reopened with the exception of part of the right lane by mid-afternoon.

No power outages were reported, PECO said.

This closure happened less than a block from where a collapsed sewer caused the closure of Chestnut Street for a couple weeks.

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