A release of steam exploded underground at Geary and Hyde streets in San Francisco on Tuesday, sending PG&E crews out in the middle of the night and leaving 350 people without power for a while.
By 5 a.m., the customers had their power restored, but traffic lights remained dark so drivers had to proceed carefully through the intersection. Meanwhile, PG&E crews remained on scene, trying to figure out what happened and how to fix the problem.
A PG&E spokesperson said there were flames in the manhole just before midnight on Monday, but crews weren't sure if a manhole cover blew off. But the spokesperson said there was definitely some sort of underground equipment failure.
The fire department responded, but the fire went out on its own, officials said.
The explosion rattled nerves in the Tenderloin district and witnesses saw fire and smoke shooting out of the manhole. On Tuesday morning, area residents remained wary.
"It sounded like it was a bomb," Albert Reese said.
Reese, who has lived on the top floor of a Hyde Street building for three years, is concerned, and hopes PG&E is working to prevent such an incident from reoccuring.
"I know it takes time, but need to improve or someone may be at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.