Ohio Edison says manhole explosion was caused by fuse

Staff report


Ohio Edison says the Feb. 6 manhole-cover explosion on East Market Street near Pine Avenue resulted from a fuse in the “vault” below the street “opening up” to release pressure.

Mark Durbin, Ohio Edison spokesman, said workers checked out the manhole last week and found an apparent problem with a fuse. He said the problem is “very rare,” and it didn’t cause a power outage or any damage.

Josh Knapp, who was working for Records Systems of Boardman, was about 5 feet away from the manhole when it blew into the air with a “real loud boom” and with flame underneath it, then dropped to the street.

The cover — about 2 feet in diameter — didn’t drop back onto the hole, so a couple of people put it back to prevent a car from driving into the hole.

Atty. Dan Letson, who was sitting at the traffic light, said the cover blew between 2 and 3 feet into the air “with [orange and blue] flames shooting out of the hole.”

No one was injured.

Durbin said the manhole is the access to an Ohio Edison utility area or “vault” where fuses are located, much like fuses that would be on telephone poles in areas where telephone poles are used instead of underground facilities.

“It has a release mechanism,” Durbin said of the fuses. “It senses there is a problem and it opens up,” he said. He didn’t know why the problem was associated with flames, Durbin said.

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