By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Smokes shoots out of a manhole on the streets of Old City.
It was scene you will only see on Eyewitness News.
A transformer reportedly blew up underground near Walnut and 2nd streets around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Workers at the City Tavern got a first hand look at the chaos that ensued from the underground fire.
“Really, really black smoke coming out. I mean strong,” said Chef Walter Staib of City Tavern Restaurant. “Not serving lunch today, it looks like it.”
Several buildings were evacuated for precautionary measures and a building had smoke in it.
Police, firefighters and PECO crews were all on the scene.
Several streets were closed.
As many as 100 customers were without power.
Stylists at Tundella Salon near 2nd and Chestnut Street quickly figured out a “Plan B” went their power went out.
“We had clients in here, we had to ask them to go home,” Michelle Fratangeli, a receptionist at Tundella Salon, explained. “The ones whose hair was still wet had to go down to the pizza shop use the blow dryers in there.”
The stylists and clients made their way to a nearby pizza shop to use their outlets.
She laughed, “Yup, pizza shop and hair salon in one today.”
“Old City is sort of without any work right now,” said Maria Roberts. She owns MFR Consultants, an IT company on Chestnut street.
She had to send all her employees home because they can’t work without power.
“Our landlines are down within the company, our servers are down, the computers are down,” Roberts explained.
Many folks waited around hoping to get back on the grid.
Others tried to go get lunch, but many restaurants were also left in the dark.
Jiji Thomas owns Karma Restaurant on Chestnut Street.
They couldn’t offer their usual lunch buffet, but that was not their biggest concern.
“Our lunch crowd is a pretty big crowd, we did lose out on a bit,” Thomas added. “Losing the lunches is one thing but our coolers, our freezers, all our meats and all that stuff is what I was worried about.”
The power was out for about several hours, but most customers are back on the grid.
PECO crews will continue to assess the situation.
So far, no word on what caused the explosion.