DOWNTOWN EXPLOSIONS: Cable To Blame

There were some scary moments in downtown Des Moines overnight as explosions woke people living near 4th and Court.

Police were called to the area around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.  Residents living in the area reported hearing explosions and seeing flames shooting from a manhole.

When police arrived they say flames about four to five feet high were coming from the manhole.  They quickly blocked off 4th Street between Court and Walnut.

When Channel 13 arrived on the scene another explosion sounded and firefighters and police moved back and made sure everyone was away from the area.

For nearly a half hour crackling and popping could be heard, and at one point a ball of flame shot from the manhole.

Residents of The Elliot and Kirkwood were evacuated.  They have since been allowed to return to the buildings.

A MidAmerican Energy spokesperson says the explosion was caused by an underground cable that faulted and blew the manhole cover off. An event like that can cause a lightning type effect, which may have started the fire.

Power was restored to several businesses around 11:00 a.m. including the Riverfront YMCA. However, some could be without power into the evening. Some businesses, like Java Joe’s and The Royal Mile are using generator power.