ATLANTA - Part of Peachtree Street is back open after it was shut down for hours following 10 minor underground explosions that sent smoke up into the air.
Officials initially told Channel 2 Action News that the manhole covers were "blown off," but after further investigation confirmed that "smoke vented through grates along sidewalk."
It happened between North Avenue and Linden Avenue shortly around 8 a.m. in midtown Atlanta. Viewers said they heard loud booms and then saw a cloud of smoke.
"It sounded like a bomb, it was really scary. I saw the smoke, and I heard everything, and I kind of started sprinting," witness Lauren Eddleman told Channel 2's Tom Regan.
Don’t mind the rainy window - we didn’t want to let the smoke in the house. 😷 pic.twitter.com/jHHO0iVkcR— Leslie (@LAinGA) February 6, 2019
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Officials said the smoke was caused when an underground transformer caught on fire.
Sol Morales scrambled to his window overlooking Peachtree and shot video of the transformer.
"It almost looked like lightening underground because it was flickering and suddenly all this toxic looking smoke came out," Morales told Regan.
“I’m shocked. It’s a great area. Never had any issues or problems in the area,” said Cedric Fuller, who had to take a different route to his midtown apartment Wednesday.
No injuries have been reported and there were no major power outages. All roads in the area were closed as crews worked on the scene Wednesday morning.
Repair crews are still removing the damaged transformer under the sidewalk. Georgia Power is still trying to pinpoint how it exploded.
"The transformer that was damaged we have to get that out and replace it with a different piece of equipment," John Kraft told Regan.
#UPDATE: Peachtree Street back open following morning underground transformer explosion the blew manhole covers and smoke into the air and rattled nearby buildings. Live on the scene at 5pm. pic.twitter.com/HhP86wrM3F— Tom Regan (@tomreganWSB) February 6, 2019
Contrary to reports, Emory Clinic at Emory University Hospital Midtown on Peachtree Street was not evacuated. The hospital is using backup power and is operating as normal.
The hospital sent the following statement about the incident:
Emory University Hospital Midtown is working with Atlanta Fire Department and Georgia Power after a Georgia Power transformer is believed to have exploded under the street near the hospital around 8 a.m. today. Power was temporarily lost, but hospital generators took over until normal power was restored. There were no injuries and patient care continues at the hospital as normal. No evacuations were necessary, but some patients were moved within a care unit to ensure their safety.
One southbound lane of Peachtree Street remains closed. Georgia Power said the repairs may continue until Thursday afternoon.