An underground fire knocked out power as flames shot out of a manhole in Old City Saturday morning.
The blaze broke out around 1 a.m. near the intersection of Market and 4th streets as PECO workers were troubleshooting underground equipment, PECO spokeswoman Jen McFadden said. At one point, 400 PECO customers were left without power.
The fire was so intense that even after firefighters contained it, crews could not go down and inspect the damage due to how dangerous it was, McFadden said.
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As the fire raged, flames could be seen shooting up from the hole in the ground. At one point, an apparent energy surge caused a spark that intensified the fire and startled a nearby worker.
By late Sunday afternoon, PECO restored all power to customers in the area.
The Liberty Bell Center and Independence Visitor Center, both serviced by PECO, were forced to close Saturday before reopening Sunday. A spokesperson for the Independence Visitor Center said the forced closure cost them about $45,000.
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.