Manhole boom reportedly not a blast

A boom followed by a flash and smoke from a Financial District manhole was not an explosion but a cable failure, according to Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said officials are trying to determine the cause of the 6:30 a.m. incident at Battery and Pine streets. The failed cable will be sent to a forensics lab, he said.

Fire Department Battalion Chief Denise Newman said three passers-by reported what sounded like an explosion, followed by flames.

“Just a boom, a flash and then smoke,” she said. “Someone down the block said their lights flickered.”

Molica said there was no fire.

“Sometimes when a cable fails, it can produce a loud noise and smoke,” he said. No customers lost power during the incident.

Battery Street was briefly closed to traffic while PG&E crews worked to fix the problem.

“Luckily, nothing bad happened except a little traffic jam,” Newman said.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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