Crews respond to underground fire in downtown Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Omaha fire fighters responded Monday night to reports of explosions and a fire on 17th Avenue and Capitol Avenue in downtown Omaha.

Police reported that the fire involved an underground power transformer and that OPPD was on its way to the crime scene. Some traffic lights may have been affected by the situation. If so, people should treat intersections as 4 way stops.

6 News could see a large cloud of smoke from this intersection immediately after the first report. The smoke cleared relatively quickly.

17 & Capitol. A fire broke out in an underground transformer. OPPD is on its way to the crime scene. Some traffic signals could be affected. Treat intersections as a 4-way stop.

– Sgt.Jason Menning (@OPDSgtMenning) April 6, 2021

Hotel guests were okay, a little shocked at how quickly everything went here. They said they shivered in their rooms and saw smoke from the eighth and 15th floors.

The Omaha Fire Department reported 6 News that the underground explosion occurred near the Double Tree and officials were forced to put out a fire. Renters who live on Capitol Avenue say they felt some kind of shock wave too.

“We started going down eight flights of stairs. The building shook a little and the lights flickered on and off ”, hotel guest Andrew Lovato-Needham.

“A little bit just because we were on the fifteenth floor, so I knew if something happened we had to get out quickly and not use the elevator,” said hotel guest Lauren Pruitt.

Officials say everyone and their building are doing fine right now. Crews clean up the chaos and the OPPD and MUD are on site.

The Omaha Fire Dept says these types of explosions can sometimes happen on their own and officials are still on the scene.

We were sent to an explosion. When we got here we looked like an underground vault, maybe a couple of transformers exploding on the sidewalk next to the Doubletree. We got smoke and flames out of the vault, just kept everyone away until it was all over

The fire is currently out. We have utility companies on site to take care of it. So at this point, yes, fire out, smoke has evaporated and we are just preparing to clean up. I believe OPPD.

No, right now we have no idea. It just came as an explosion. Not sure what happened there.

Sometimes it can, you know, there is electrical equipment down there and then it can get old or whatever happens and that kind of thing happens.

We walked through the hotel, there was no extension to the hotel so everything is good there.

We got in touch with them [OPPD], they will start working on it and take over the scene.

POSSIBLE EXPLOSION: Double Tree guests say they felt tremors and saw smoke coming from their hotel rooms.

Spectator video below Capitol shows heavy smoke. (H / T Ryan Dudzinski)

– Alex McLoon WOWT (@AlexMcLoon) April 6, 2021

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