Underground electrical fire at Boston's Harvard Square - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Underground electrical fire at Boston's Harvard Square

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- A series of subterranean explosions in Harvard Square early Friday morning sent flames shooting out of manholes more than 10 feet into the air, police and fire officials said.

No injuries have been reported from the four to five explosions, which were triggered by an electrical cable that malfunctioned, said NStar spokeswoman Caroline Allen.

"Harvard Square is completely blocked off from all directions," said officer Frank Pasquarello, a Cambridge police spokesman. "Flames are still shooting 10 feet above the ground."

The Cambridge Fire Department is on the scene trying to douse the flames.

Subway trains are still running through Harvard Square. "Red Line service has not been impacted by this at all," said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The main entrance to Harvard Station has been closed and riders are asked to use the Church Street entrance, Pesaturo said. Bus routes 1, 68, and 69 will not stop at Harvard Square because of the fire. Passengers on Route 1 will board at Massachusetts Avenue and Bow Street; Route 68 will board at Broadway and Quincy Street; and Route 69 will board at Quincy and Cambridge streets.

The cable malfunction was akin to a house blowing a fuse, but on a much larger scale, Allen said. The initial blast knocked out power to 700 customers.

"We've been able to isolate the outage so we have just under 100 customers left without power," Allen said. "Right now it is a matter of waiting for the fire to burn out" so crews can get into the manhole and fix the problem.

The explosions were centered near Massachusetts Avenue and Dunster Streets, but the flames spread through the underground network of manholes.

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