Underground Electrical Vault Explodes In Downtown St. Louis

Posted on: 5:29 pm, June 25, 2013, by , updated on: 10:19pm, June 25, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – An underground electrical vault caught fire under the US Bank building in downtown St. Louis.

Firefighters said an internal problem in an electrical transformer caused the explosions. Ameren workers are using cutters to remove the transformer that caused so much fear.

Neil Elias works for US Bank. “You could tell there was all kinds of smoke outside the building and actually you could smell the smoke inside the lobby,” Elias said. “I just heard three booms.”

Fire and smoke filled the air around U.S. Bank Plaza as people were forced out of the building.

Ryan Kemer works for Thompson Coburn, which is in US Bank Plaza. “I was at my desk and heard three loud explosions,” he said.

Firefighters say an electrical transformer in an underground vault on 7th Street exploded around 5 Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately no one was walking near the vault.

The explosion knocked out power in the 36 story building, leaving at least ten people trapped in elevators.

As fire and smoke continued to shoot out of the vault, firefighters rushed to rescue the trapped people and clear the rest of the building.

Around 6:30 p.m. firefighters used a dry chemical to smother the electrical fire.

But the smoke still lingered, as will the memory of the explosions.

No injuries were reported. Power is still out in the south side of the building, but crews are working overnight to fix that so people can return to work.

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:20 pm

Firemen are spraying the fire with powder to put out electrical fires

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:18 pm

Special electrical fire truck on the scene…

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:16 pm

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:09 pm

Firefighters are still headed to the scene. Three more trucks can be seen coming down Washington Ave.

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:07 pm

7th street between Locust and Washington is shut down as crews work the fire.

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:06 pm
Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:05 pm

A witness says he heard a loud boom then felt the building shake at around 5pm. An alarm then sounded and employees of Thompson Coburn law firm evacuated the building.

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20136:03 pm
Joe Millitzer June 25, 20135:56 pm
Joe Millitzer June 25, 20135:56 pm

Black smoke can be seen coming from the ground…

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20135:55 pm

US Bank employees report seeing flames and smoke coming up from the sidewalk.

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It is not clear if there are people trapped in elevators.

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20135:50 pm

The fire department is waiting for Ameren workers to cut power to the underground vault before they can spray down the fire.

Joe Millitzer June 25, 20135:49 pm
Joe Millitzer June 25, 20135:49 pm

FOX 2 photographer took this image from the scene:

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