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Flaming manholes heat up Boylston Street outside the Pru

Flaming manhole on Boylston Street

The Boston Fire Department reports a couple of manholes on Boylston Street near Fairfield Street belched flames around 12:45 p.m., causing no injuries but startling passersby.

Aftermath (photo by BFD):

Aftermath of manhole explosions


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o/~ Goodness Gracious, Manholes O Fire o/~

Voting closed 0

3 jabonies on their phones and one dude posed like he is about to start a breaking dancing throw down.

Voting closed 20

In front of Taco Bell

Voting closed 12

Wait. This reminds me to ask a serious question because, you know, safety first for all us living, working, or both, right now at this moment forward in Boston (which includes neighnorhood districts) .
What causes this to happen and can it aggravate gas lines? It seems to happen occasionally, more often than not.

Voting closed 16

It's almost certain that leaking gas lines supplied the fuel for this. The State estimates that up to 1.1% of all the gas that enters MA is lost to leaking pipes. Other sources say that's a gross underestimate. Even if it's not, that is a lot of gas.

Voting closed 13

Yes it couldn't possibly be an electrical fire. Maybe you should stay home and let the adults do adult things

Voting closed 2

See the word exploded in the witness report? Give us your adult explanation of electricity exploding, please.

Voting closed 12

Sewers also vent gasses underground, which can create flaming manholes.

But a quick google search turned up the fact that frayed wires on cables carrying high voltages can cause everything around them to degrade and create gases that burn. https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/exploding-manhole...

In most cases, these are the events that lead to an explosion:

Underground cables become frayed from aging, corrosive chemicals, overload or rats biting them.
These cables carry on the order of 13,000 volts of electricity.
These electrical wires heat up the paper, lead and rubber insulation.
The insulation smolders and catches on fire, releasing gases.
The pressure from the gas builds up inside the manhole.
The electrical wires arc like a bolt of lightning and ignite the gases, causing a powerful explosion.

Voting closed 11

Ladies and Gentlemen "The Flaming Manholes"!

Voting closed 19

Back in my day when this happened,, we'd grab a bag of marshmallows and some green sticks, or straightened coathangers and get to snacking. We couldn't afford chocolate or Graham crackers, but some days we'd sprinkle Quik on them after toasting.

Voting closed 2

Split the manhole, that's an impressive show of force.

Voting closed 9