PSE&G officials say around 9:00 a.m. six utility poles came crashing down on Bayard Street between Hudson Street and South Clinton Avenue.
Melanie Johnson and her neighbors watched as the poles snapped at their bases one after the other, crashing onto the street and crushing at least two cars.
"I was talking pictures and the power line that was on fire just blew up and we all started running!" said Johnson.
Investigators believe, one pole may have been weak at the base and gave way causing a domino effect.
"The poles all snapped off themselves right at the base. All those poles are rotted out, they just broke and snapped off in a line," said Scott Furda.
There are conflicting reports about whether a trash truck may have snagged one of the overhead wires - police are still investigating.
A city garbage man sustained non-life threatening injuries.
With live lines draped everywhere, dozens of people were told to stay in their homes until the power lines were deactivated.
"We heard a big boom, when we come out we see all these wires down. That line right there was on fire, smoking," said Angel Delgado.
With the power turned off for hours, Italian Peoples Bakery did business in the dark.
"I'm selling bread, rolls, donuts and whatever I have but I can't slice anything, I can't do anything," said Matt Guagliardo.
Electric crews worked through the day to sort the lines, replace the downed poles and restore power. Outages were reported for 340 customers initially but most have since regained power.