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Underground explosion rocks downtown Oklahoma City

An underground utility explosion Friday evening left one worker with Oklahoma Gas & Electric injured and crews working into the evening to restore power to First National Center in downtown Oklahoma City, authorities said.
BY STEVE LACKMEYER slackmeyer@opubco.com Published: April 5, 2013

An underground utility explosion Friday evening left one worker with Oklahoma Gas & Electric injured and crews working into the evening to restore power to First National Center.

Marek Cornett witnessed the explosion, which she described as a fireball coming up through sidewalk utility street grates followed by a cloud of smoke.

Oklahoma Fire Department Battalion Chief Tommy Iago said the injured worker was one of three people who were underground about 15 feet when the fire started.

“They had a transformer that exploded down there, a minor fire, and they extinguished the majority of it,” Iago said. “We went down and we put out the rest of it.”

The fire started about 6 p.m. – after many of the downtown workers already had left the central business district.

Iago said no pedestrians were near the grate when the explosion occurred, and no building evacuations were required although the street was closed until shortly after 7 p.m.