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MI: Electrical Exlposion (arc flash?) Blows Man hole Cover 10 feet in Air

JACKSON, MI: Westwood Mall and surrounding stores were evacuated Thursday night, after electrical lines underneath the mall parking lot caused a series of electrical explosions, according to Blackman- Leoni Township public safety Deputy Director Jon Johnston.  At about 6:11 p.m., officers arrived at the mall, 1850 W. Michigan Ave., in response to a 911 call reporting a possible explosion. Johnston said officials soon determined the cause was electrical, not gas, and called Consumers Energy to the scene.

The explosions were from several electrical lines below the parking lot, which then lofted a manhole cover six to 10 feet into the air at the rear of the mall by JC Penney, Johnston said.  The area was immediately evacuated by Blackman Leoni Public Safety officials, with the help of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Police Department.

Johnston said the WalMart shopping center had already lost power due to the electrical issues and mall officials made the decision to close early as a precautionary measure.

The cause of the electrical explosions was not immediately known, but crews from Consumers Energy have been called in to investigate the scene and help restore power to the area, Johnston said.  “The scene has been turned over to Consumers Energy but we’ll have a presence on the scene until the area is secure,” he said.  Johnston is unsure when power will be restored to the area, but said generator trucks have been called in to provide electricity to the produce sections of WalMart.

Story via mlive.com

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