Underground Fire Injures 2 SEPTA Workers in West Philly

Two SEPTA workers are recovering following an underground fire in West Philadelphia Wednesday.

PGW officials say they first received calls Wednesday morning from neighbors reporting a natural gas odor near 49th and Windsor streets. When PGW workers arrived they went door to door in the area to check for potential gas leaks. Around 10 a.m., the workers noticed black smoke rising from manholes on Florence Avenue and 49th and Windsor. One worker described the smoke as “overwhelming” and believed it was coming from burning wires underground.

SEPTA workers and the Philadelphia Fire Department then arrived at the scene to investigate. Around 12:30 p.m. flames came up through the manhole cover on 49th and Windsor and burned two SEPTA workers. Both victims were taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital. One worker was treated and released while the other was transferred to the Temple University Hospital Burn Center and is currently in stable condition.

PGW officials have not yet determined a cause for the fire but say there was no natural gas leak. Instead they say it may have been caused by underground equipment.

Officials say 49th Street is closed between Windsor and Florence Avenue as the investigation continues.

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