Manhole Fire Knocks Out Power on Queens Block: Con Ed

A manhole fire in Queens knocked out power to about a dozen homes on a brutally cold Friday night. 

Consolidated Edison was looking into whether salt and ice caused the fire on the corner of 115-23 196th St. at about 6:30 p.m. 

Power was cut to 13 homes on the block. Some power was slowly restored over the next few hours, and Con Ed said it hoped to have power fully restored by the end of the night. 

No one was hurt in the manhole fire.

The affected homes lost both power and heat because burners on furnaces are typically also controlled by electricity, according to Con Ed. Some neighbors stayed in their vehicles for warmth as they waited for power to be restored. 

"The car is much better right now because I'm warm, I can hear my music, I'm on the phone," said Raquel Morris as she hunkered down in her car. 

Con Ed and FDNY have been busy responding to hundreds of manhole fires and explosions in recent weeks. The utility says they're common this time of year because the salt used to treat icy roads corrodes underground wiring when it seeps below the surface. 

One man was hit by a flying manhole cover in Brooklyn on Feb. 2. 

Con Ed estimates there have been about 550 manhole fires across the city since Jan. 31. 

-- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report. 

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