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Electrical cable short causes underground explosions in upstate NewYork town

11 October 2012

On October 9 a series of explosions shut down the main intersection in the town of Glens Falls after an underground electrical line shorted. The explosions damaged a number of buildings and sent flames shooting 10 feet or more from manholes in the street. No one was hurt.

A National Grid spokesman said the explosions and fires occurred as the line smouldered and produced gas that was trapped in the underground vaults where lines run.

He said the age of the infrastructure could be part of the problem, or water from recent rains could have gotten into the electrical vaults, according to local news  sources.

Glens Falls Fire Chief James Schrammel said several buildings had basement or facade damage -- including broken windows -- from the force of the explosions, and high carbon monoxide levels that apparently stemmed from a fire prompted the evacuations.

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