Underground explosions rock downtown Richmond; one hurt

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dominion Virginia Power says an electrical vault underground exploded and caught fire Friday in the 600 block of E. Main Street in Richmond.

One lineman with Dominion has been taken to the hospital to be evaluated for smoke inhalation. He is expected to recover, according to Dominion.

The first call came in at 11:16 a.m. and emergency crews arrived on scene four minutes later.

(Photo: Justin Barbour)
(Photo: Justin Barbour)

Police say there were multiple power outages and traffic disruptions. There were 1,925 total outages across the region and 375 in downtown Richmond. The power outage affected the 500 to 800 blocks of E. Main Street. Some of the customers affected included parts of VCU, Verizon Communications and the Virginia Department of General Services. Richmond City Hall was not impacted as previously reported by Dominion.

Power to customers has been restored downtown, except for the 6th & Main parking deck. Also, crews and police are in process of opening roads. They said an underground cable failure is to blame for the incident.

“We’re looking at these underground cables and trying to determine what caused that explosion,” said Rob Richardson of Dominion Virginia Power.

Dominion says the cable that burned had just been inspected last month. And that all underground cables are inspected yearly.

“It’s important for us to inspect these cables because it’s a network system that is designed to be able to take a fault like this and still serve all of our customers,” Richardson added.

Richmond firefighters had to rescue people from four elevators after the power went down.



Statewide, district and circuit courts are currently unable to access files or process payments due to an internet outage believed to be prompted from the explosions.

Several 8News viewers have called, sent in pictures and video from the scene. If you have anything you’d like to send to us, shoot us an email at iReport8@wric.com.

We have two crews on the way to the scene and are making calls to get more information.

Stay with 8News for more on this developing story.

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