Investigating an underground downtown Indy explosion

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Power was restored to several businesses along Meridian Street just south of the circle in downtown Indianapolis Wednesday evening.

Crews had turned off power after a series of transformer explosions underground Wednesday afternoon, that caused smoke and loud noises to scatter crowds. No one was hurt.

Businesses reported their windows were shaken by several explosions that came from the ground.

Fire crews were called after an underground explosion rocked downtown Indianapolis. (WISH Photo)
Fire crews were called after an underground explosion rocked downtown Indianapolis. (WISH Photo)

“It was a big, big boom. I real big boom. We could feel it in our feet and then after that it started smoking like crazy,” Justin Young said.

He’s a construction worker who was on-duty nearby.

“I didn’t know what happened, if something was blowing up or I don’t know. It made me nervous. We’re around construction all the time, but still you don’t like to see that coming out of the streets,” Young said.

An IPL spokesperson said this was a piece of equipment that failed: called an “underground network protector.”

They’re now investigating to determine what caused that.

By 7 p.m., IPL crews were wrapping up and restoring power in the area. Oceanaire, Napolese Pizzeria, and Carson Pirie Scott were all affected by the power outage.

Owner of Patachou, Inc Martha Hoover, who owns Napolese Pizzeria, said she was just glad no one was hurt.

“Our main concern was our staff and customers. No one was hurt, and everyone got out safely,” said Hoover.

Hoover says she plans to re-open Thursday morning at 11, saying it didn’t appear her restaurant had any water or smoke damage from the underground explosions that blew smoke up in front of the building.

She says being closed for one night won’t hurt: what matters, she says, is that no people were hurt.

Since 2012, IPL has enhanced inspection procedures. That’s after several manhole covers exploded in 2011.

IPL’s spokesperson says this incident is not the same; adding no manhole covers were moved.

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