Underground Cable Malfunction Causes Power Outages, Evacuations in Downtown Philadelphia

Residents in Philadelphia's Society Hill neighborhood got an unpleasant wake-up call early Sunday when an underground cable malfunction led to evacuations and power outages in the area.

Authorities said police, firefighters and PECO were called to 6th and Pine just after 1 a.m. after residents reported hearing what sounded like an explosion. When they arrived at the scene, they found a malfunctioning cable underground and three manhole covers lifted off their bases, officials said.

A resident of Society Hill who heard an underground blast apparently caused by a subterranean cable fire early Sunday told NBC10 he heard what sounded like an explosion and saw smoke in his neighborhood.

Firefighters evacuated people from six homes nearby as a precaution, and around 50 homes were without power shortly before 6 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

USE Broken Windows at Society Hill
NBC10 - Monique Braxton
Windows on a house in Society Hill are broken after neighbors say they heard a blast overnight. Authorities say PECO crews who responded discovered an underground fire and three displaced manhole covers. Power was out for some 50 houses in the area.

Crews remained at the scene working to repair the problems Sunday morning. Power was restored to all customers Sunday night. A PECO spokeswoman said an underground cable had malfunctioned and led to a pressure build up which lifted the manhole covers.

PECO crews are working to restore power to about 50 homes in Philadelphia’s Society Hill section after an underground blast and fire caused outages and evacuations in the area.

The incident came on the heels of an underground explosion near Philadelphia's 30th Street Station on Saturday that damaged the road outside the transit center.

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