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Flames shoot from manhole as utility worker dies below Phoenix street, firefighters say

Screengrab from KTVK video

A blast and fire that sent flames shooting from a Phoenix manhole Sunday night killed a utility worker and injured another, KTVK reported.

A second Arizona Public Services worker escaped with burns to his hands and face, KSAZ reported.

The fire broke out in an underground electrical vault at First Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Phoenix at 10:35 p.m. as the two workers did routine maintenance, KTAR reported.

“Our focus is on the safety of those actively working the scene, the well-being of these employees’ co-workers and families and restoring power safely and quickly once repairs can begin,” Arizona Public Services said in a statement, according to the station.

Firefighters had to wait for power to be shut off to the electrical vault before tackling the blaze, KSAZ reported. The body of the worker was found after the fire was doused.

The blaze caused power outages to nearby buildings, including several city offices, that continued into Monday morning, KTVK reported.

Light rail service in the area also has been disrupted, KNXV reported. There’s no estimate for when power might be restored in the area.

The name of the worker who died has not been released.

A man who drove a tractor trailer that crashed into an electric pole in Buzzards Bay, Mass., told police he swerved after a bird flew into his truck and hit his head. There were no major injuries.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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