Dozens of residents were evacuated in downtown Albany today after several manhole covers blew off and smoke filled the streets.
Firefighters, police and National Grid crews were on the scene just before noontime after an underground fire blew several manhole covers off in the vicinity of Pine Street in the Broadway area. Pedestrians and drivers were urged to avoid Pine Street from North Pearl to Broadway and James Street from Pine to State.
National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said the first calls came in around 11:30 a.m. "Our crews arrived on the scene and have been doing quite a bit of work down there during the day today. Four manhole covers that were taken off the manholes and holes themselves and quite a bit of smoke and fire damage inside those manholes. So we've been working there throughout the day and we'll be working there throughout the night to make those repairs inside those manholes. And in the process of that we had to take a couple of outages to some nearby buildings. One of those buildings at 29 Maiden Lane will be out throughout the evening and Catholic Charities, the building has been populated by Catholic Charities, are going to be relocating some of the people that are in that building for the night while we make repairs.”
Mayor Kathy Sheehan says 46 residents of 29 Maiden Lane were evacuated: "They're all being taken care of and have a place to stay tonight. You know it's always concerning and challenging when you have something like this happen. We’ll be anxious to hear the explanation and we really wanna ensure that National Grid is doing all it can with its infrastructure to prevent something like this from happening in the future."
Stella says an investigation will be conducted after service is restored. "When we have an incident like this our first thing is to get the repairs made, make the situation safe, and make sure the power is on and then we'll look at the cause afterwards."
No injuries were reported.
Due to exploding manhole covers, this area should be avoided. pic.twitter.com/frt5jj7i3P
— Downtown Albany BID (@AlbanyBID) September 24, 2020