Two workers injured in underground transformer explosion in downtown Boston

BOSTON — Two Eversource workers were injured when an underground transformer exploded in downtown Boston Tuesday evening.

The Boston Fire Department said the incident, initially called a manhole explosion, happened across from 37 Bowdoin St.

“All of a sudden I hear a loud boom,” witness John Frost said. “It rocked my room, knocked me out of bed.”

Witnesses told Boston 25 they heard at least five explosions and saw at least one manhole cover blow into the air.

“It kept popping over and over,” witness Isaac Bell said. “Loud explosions.”

One worker was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with severe burns, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

“All his clothes were burnt off his body, and the manholes are still blowing up, blowing up,” Bell said.

Another worker, who a witness said rushed to help the first man, was treated at the hospital for possible smoke inhalation.

The crew was conducting routine maintenance on a piece of underground equipment at the time of the explosion.

“They were doing regular maintenance that they do all the time, and there was an explosion in the equipment. There was a malfunction in the equipment they were working on,” Boston Fire Commissioner Paul Burke said.

The transformer malfunction set off a series of blasts until the fire could be put out – a dangerous task so close to high voltage.

In a statement, Eversource said it responded to the scene just after 6 p.m. and “immediately worked to make the area safe.”

State Police said an underground fire caused by the explosion was brought under control shortly before 7 p.m.

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