Exploding manholes under investigation in Albany - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Exploding manholes under investigation in Albany

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- An investigation is underway into what caused several manhole covers to explode in downtown Albany Saturday.

One of the manholes exploded right in front of one of the oldest buildings in Albany. A store manager in the area is glad no one was hurt, but says if the explosion happened just a few hours later the impact could have been far worse.

"The manhole cover that's on the patio actually did shoot up and hit the building behind us," said Seamus Caffrey of Old English Pub.

There was no one inside the Old English Pub when the manhole exploded, but it did do damage. 

"It damaged some of the bricks and one of the windowsills and it did actually take down one of the flags that caused some breakage of glass," said Caffrey.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings was less than pleased when he headed downtown to Broadway to learn four manholes had exploded at around 5:30 am. 

"This is something we're not going to tolerate any longer. Enough is enough," said Jennings.

Jennings was angry that after similar explosions in the city last year, the problem now still seemed to him to be unresolved. 

"It's happening too frequently and it's time for National Grid and everyone to sit down and put a strategy together," said Jennings.

National Grid says the incident is not uncommon and they respond to similar ones every year. Spokesperson Patrick Stella says cables began to catch on fire causing chemicals to build up igniting explosions and he had a reason why.

"The salt and the other chemicals from the street gets washed into the underground system and what that can do is it can erode the cables underneath," said Stella.

Mayor Jennings says no matter what the cause he demands the company takes action to stop the dangerous events.

"The infrastructure here in this city is very, very old. They know that. There has to be ways for them to attack it to prevent it."

Crews are still working to repair the wires and damages caused by the explosions. The English pub says National Grid and the city said they would take care of damages caused to the historic building.

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