Manhole Fire

Explosions in Manholes Send Smoke Billowing Near Mass. General Hospital

MBTA Red Line trains were bypassing the Charles/MGH station due to the fire

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Explosions were felt outside Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston Tuesday afternoon, firefighters said.

Smoke was seen coming out of manholes on Charles Street near Longfellow Bridge and the Charles/MGH MBTA Red Line station. The fire was reported around 3:15 p.m., the Boston Fire Department said in a tweet.

Eversource said the explosions and fire was due to an equipment failure, and that it caused power outages at a nearby hotel and school, as well as the T station.

One of the explosions was powerful enough to send a manhole cover flying into the bottom of the T track.

Firefighters at the scene of a manhole fire in Boston
NBC10 Boston
Firefighters at the scene of a manhole fire in Boston on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The explosions caused the ground around the manholes to buckle, according to firefighters, who said they've managed to get the flames under control.


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"The dangers are too legion to describe," said Boston fire District Chief Jim Hoar of electrical fires. "If you see an electrical fire, call the fire department, stay away from it."

The area around the fire was blocked off to traffic, and Red Line trains were bypassing the Charles/MGH station, the MBTA said in a tweet.

"It was just like a big boom," witness Ashley Inman said of the first explosion, which was followed several minutes later by another explosion.

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