Baltimore City utility and fire crews are working Friday morning to restore power to portions of downtown after an electrical fire broke out overnight beneath North Charles Street.
Baltimore Gas and Electric and fire crews were cycling power through impacted electrical conduits and monitoring for potential fire flare-ups in the 200, 300 and 400 blocks of North Charles Street between Baltimore and West Mulberry streets. The underground fire broke out late Thursday evening and brought reports of smoke coming from manholes as well as possible manhole explosions, according to Baltimore City’s Office of Emergency Management.
Officials said power outages related to the fire caused interruptions in the city’s emergency service communications, at one point knocking out 911 dispatch. First responders continued Friday morning to use a new emergency service radio system as a communication alternative. Emergency officials said there were no further disruptions to the 911 call handling process.
No injuries were reported during the fire and officials said threats to the public have been mitigated.
In order to extinguish the blaze, fire crews shut down power to buildings surrounding the 300 and 400 block of North Charles Street. Mercy Hospital remained largely unaffected, though several garages and buildings went without power for a period, emergency officials said. Baltimore City’s Elijah E. Cummings and Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. courthouses were closed Friday because of power disruptions.
Outages continued to affect the downtown area in the general grid of Centre, Liberty, St. Paul and Fayette streets. Several city buildings were also running on emergency power Friday morning.
Mayor Brandon Scott warned morning commuters to leave enough time to account for traffic modifications downtown. Light rail service was also suspended between Camden Yards and North Avenue. A bus bridge has been put in place for commuters, according to the Maryland MTA. Commuter bus route 850 resumed full service while route 725 was not operating trips 2, 4, 8 and 11.
This article may be updated.