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10 large explosions send smoke billowing into the Atlanta skyline


Officials say rainwater runoff sparked an underground transformer causing the explosions

Image source: Sol Morales Twitter video screenshot via Steve Gehlbach

Ten underground explosions in midtown Atlanta sent smoke billowing into the sky and shutting down several streets for hours Wednesday morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Firefighters were dispatched to Emory University Hospital Midtown shortly before 8 a.m. local time after loud booms and thick smoke were reported outside the facility.

Atlanta Fire Rescue spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford told the Journal-Constitution that rainwater runoff caused an underground transformer to explode.

Initial reports claimed that manhole covers had been blown off but officials later confirmed that was not the case.

"After further investigation and speaking with Georgia Power representatives, we can confirm that no manhole covers were 'blown off' as initial reports from 911 calls indicated," Stafford wrote in a statement on Twitter.

What are the details?

Nearby residents and commuters reportedly heard a series of loud pops and flashes of light coming up from the sidewalk near Emory University Hospital at about 7:25 a.m.

"Something happened on Peachtree near my apartment. Multiple loud booms and smoke," resident Colleen Corona tweeted.

By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the transformer's breakers had already been tripped.

"That cut the power that was going to those transformers, which in turn put the fire out and caused the explosions to cease," Stafford said.

Were there injuries?

No one was injured at the hospital, which operated on backup power for part of the morning, WSB-TV reported.

"There were no injuries and patient care continues at the hospital as normal," spokeswoman Janet Christenbury told the Journal-Constitution in a statement. "No evacuations were necessary, but some patients were moved within a care unit to ensure their safety."

The hospital's power has since been fully restored.

What did the power company say?

John Kraft, a spokesman for Georgia Power, told the newspaper that the problem appears to have been isolated to a single transformer. The company is continuing to investigate the incident.

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