Gas main break leads to manhole fire in Bedford
BEDFORD, Mass. (WHDH) -- A high-pressure gas main break led to a manhole fire and sent three people to the hospital Wednesday afternoon. The break shut down the Middlesex Turnpike at Crosby Street and Plank Street in Bedford.
“There was little panic,” said one witness.
Fire officials said National Grid and an outside contractor were working on the line around 3:30 when suddenly they heard the leak.
“They were working in the hole on the gas main and somehow it ignited and luckily they were out of the hole and it took off,” said Captain Charles Stone of the Bedford Fire Department.
Three workers were sent to the hospital, including one with minor burns to his face and hands.
A huge fireball could be seen shooting up several feet into the air. It caused some power lines to catch fire that were right over the area. The fire burned for 50 minutes while crews scrambled to find the shut off point to the line, which was pumping gas to the flames.
“That’s what happens. We bury them and trying to relocate them. It’s tough,” said Stone.
People who worked nearby described the blaze.
“Turn the corner and saw flames as high as the telephone pole,” said Jay Geyer, who works nearby.
“All those lines hanging there, I don’t know if I’m exaggerating with 20 feet but they were burning and cracking and falling,” said Lisa Braga, who saw the fire.
It was a stunning sight for workers at the business next to the fire. They are thankful to hear no one was seriously injured.
“Just walking through the parking lot, it felt like a 15-20 degree temperature rise, even being 100 feet away,” said Geyer.
Fire officials said the fire could have been started by anything from static electricity to machinery running nearby. Officials are continuing to investigate.