Manhole fires cause cars to burst into flames in the Bronx

FORDHAM HEIGHTS, The Bronx (WABC) -- Corroded underground electrical cables set off a chain-reaction manhole fire Tuesday afternoon in the Bronx, causing a car and a yellow cab to burst into flames and knocking power out of two residential buildings.

The two cars were destroyed at approximately 1:30 p.m. as the underground fire swept up through a manhole on Davidson Avenue in the Fordham Heights section and into the streets.

The fire set off plumes of black smoke billowing 80 feet into the air and left smoldering manholes two blocks away.

Firefighters used foam to extinguish the blaze, and the fire was out within minutes.

Two apartment buildings remain without power. Con Ed is on the scene working to return power to these buildings.

No injuries were reported -- even though the streets were filled with residents enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Jacqueline Cardona, a resident, said the fire was very frightening.

"It was very awful ... there's no dead," she said.

Manhole fires are common this time of year. In the winter, underground wires get corroded by the salt that gets used on the road, and the corroded wires start to simmer underground. This produces gases that spark and then catch fire.

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