By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A transformer fire sends black smoke and flames out onto a Center City sidewalk, causing road closures and snarling traffic on Wednesday.


The fire burned very close to Jefferson and Wills Eye Hospitals after an underground transformer caught fire around 8:15 a.m.

Earlier road closures included the 800 blocks of Walnut and Locust Streets and sections of 8th and 9th Streets.

There were no evacuations of the nearby hospitals, but traffic was a mess.

Video shows flames roaring out from the ground and smoke billowed for some time.

A fire official says this is likely form wear and tear on this particular underground transformer.

“PECO had a primary line and some secondary line underneath the street and it just took time for us, for them, to turn the power off, de-energize it and get the fire out,” said Philadelphia Fire Battalion Chief Michael Meskill.

PECO says 80 customers had no power initially, but that number continued to shrink throughout the day.

There have been no reports of injuries.