Two manhole explosions were reported in downtown Boston on Thursday morning near South Station in the Financial District, forcing the evacuation of two buildings in the area, authorities said.
Boston police received a call for manhole explosion or fire in the area of Federal and High streets about 8:40 a.m., officials said.
Boston police Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a department spokesperson, said two manhole fires were reported, and that one person was injured. That person’s injury wasn’t believed to be life-threatening, Boyle said.
Ari Manakos, 30, of Dover, N.H, works at 155 Federal St. and said he could feel the building rumble while he was using a restroom.
”I was in the bathroom having a nice seat, and the room shook,” he said, while standing outside with some of his coworkers. “It was very, very audible. I felt the building rumble.”
He said he thought it was the elevator at first — until he heard the second explosion.
”It’s freaky,” he said. “No one wants to think about the concept of explosions happening.”
Boston EMS said via Twitter that the injured party was taken to Tufts Medical Center.
“We currently have units on scene at High Street for manhole explosions,” the agency tweeted. “At this time, 1 patient has been transported to Tufts via an advanced life support @BOSTON_EMS ambulance.”
He said police responded to the initial manhole fire around 8:40 a.m. and a second manhole then exploded.
“Traffic Advisory: Boston Police and Boston Fire are on scene at Federal Street on a report of man hole fires,” Boston police tweeted. “Street closures are in effect. Pedestrian and Vehicular traffic will be impacted.”
Traffic Advisory: Boston Police and Boston Fire are on scene at Federal Street on a report of man hole fires. Street closures are in effect. Pedestrian and Vehicular traffic will be impacted.
— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) June 2, 2022
Boston Deputy Fire Chief Brian Tully told reporters at the scene that EMS reported a female victim had been taken to Tufts Medical.
“The report I have is that it’s a female with burns, I’m not sure of the actual percentage of burns,” Tully said. “She was ambulatory, which means she walked to the ambulance on her own. They’re not sure whether it was maybe a steam burn.”
Tully added that crews from Eversource and NSTAR were on scene and that pressure fans were being used to bring down elevated levels of carbon monoxide in affected buildings.
He said the carbon monoxide levels were a likely byproduct of the blasts.
The Fire Department also said via Twitter that the blasts had prompted evacuations of nearby buildings.
“Companies at 10 High st for 2 manhole fires that shattered the window of the building,” the BFD tweeted. “175 Federal and 10 High st. have been evacuated.”
Officials also tweeted that firefighters were checking area buildings for any problems.
“Companies are checking the surrounding buildings for any Smoke and using metered to check for elevated levels of Carbon Monoxide,” tweeted the Fire Department. “1 person was transported by @BOSTON_EMS to the hospital.”
Video posted to Twitter by 7News showed smoke billowing from the manhole as Boston firefighters and police responded to the scene.
Around 9 a.m., the smoke had largely dissipated but its powerful smell remained. One woman was taken to a waiting ambulance on a stretcher, sitting up but looking distressed. A number of civilians milled around the area watching first responders carry out their work.
Jennifer Peter and Tonya Alanez of the Globe staff contributed to this story. This is a breaking story that will be updated when more information is available.
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