Exploding manholes perplexes electric crews

ATLANTIC CITY - August 18, 2010 Since Sunday, at least six manholes have blown their covers, which weigh a couple hundred pounds.

Atlantic City Fire Chief Dennis Brooks saw one firsthand on St. James Place after torrential rain moved through yesterday afternoon

"It's a large arc and it blew the manhole cover right off the ground and probably went up 6, 7 feet easy, with an orange, yellowish flame," Brooks said.

Crews have been pumping water from manholes and working to make repairs, but not fast enough for the 30 customers whose power went out around 4:00 p.m. yesterday.

"It's just one little block and the lady was telling me the crew could only work a certain amount of hours and they had to go home," resident Natus Dyer said.

At the Irish Pub restaurant bar and hotel, no power means no business.

"We are definitely at their mercy; we can't generate anything out of here right now, we've had to bring in just to save the food that we have, generators to power the freezers," Tracy Talley of The Irish Pub said.

Crews hope to have power restored by midnight. Then they will examine underground equipment at the other sites where manholes blew prior to yesterday's storm.

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