Power outage leads to Loop gridlock

August 23, 2011 (CHICAGO)

At 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, an alarm went off, triggering the Chicago Fire Department and other emergency crews. One man told ABC7's Theresa Gutierrez he could see 15 to 20 foot flames shooting out of the manhole.

No injuries were reported, but a Level 1 HAZMAT was called as smoke spilled out of the vault on the southwest corner of Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington Street. A Commonwealth Edison spokesperson said the smoke coming out of the manhole is not toxic and the public was not in danger.

The equipment problem appears to have impacted the A/C lines at Daley Center, but did not lead to a power outage there. Some other buildlings saw a power outages, including the building at 25 East Washington, where the power was out for about half an hour Tuesday morning.

Officials have closed off about four city blocks and traffic in the area is moving slowly. It is not clear how long those streets will be shut down to vehicles.

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