Updated: Sunday, 30 Jan 2011, 10:04 PM EST
Published : Sunday, 30 Jan 2011, 8:10 AM EST
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) - Indianapolis fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused a series of explosions...blowing off manhole covers downtown..
It happened in the 400 block of Mass Avenue just after 6:30am Sunday morning.
"It's something that you wouldn't expect to see any where downtown," said David Bradshaw of Indianapolis.
But at the intersection of Mass Avenue, New Jersey and Michigan Streets emergency vehicles covered the block. Just as firefighters were investigating the reported smell of a natural-gas odor in the area... they were caught in a series of explosions.
Bradshaw said he heard them, "It was about five major explosions this morning; it was probably two-three minutes apart."
"Shortly thereafter, within a couple of seconds, a manhole cover near the Athenaeum which sits behinds some bushes up against the building also blew," said IFD Captain Rita Burris.
A total of 5 manhole covers blew off.
Investigators said a fire truck moving out of the area was damaged when one of the manhole covers hit the underside of the engine and broke a side light.
Our cameras were not allowed to get up close to some of them. But investigators did send us pictures of the damage. Investigators said one of the explosions broke a window and damaged brick on the side of the Athenaeum building.
"I thought it was garbage trucks moving garbage," said an Indianapolis woman who lives downtown.
"I thought somebody was setting of stick of dynamite or a gas station was on fire," Bradshaw said.
Indianapolis Power and Light crews cut the power to David Andrichik's bar and several other downtown businesses.
"With any urban area those kinds of things happen and it's not necessarily anybody's fault but leaks happen underground," Andrichik said.
Citizens Gas was also called to the scene to investigate. They said the explosions don't appear to be natural-gas related.
"It concerns me because if we are walking down the street and something like this happens and we're close it, what's going to happen, Bradshaw said.
No evacuations were ordered in the area, but one block in every direction at New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts were closed while investigators tried to pin-point the cause.