Witnesses React To Downtown OKC Transformer Explosion


Friday, April 5th 2013, 11:02 pm
By: News 9


An underground explosion downtown rattles a lot of nerves, Friday evening. It happened just as many people were heading home from work near at the First National Building.

"It's a little nerve racking for anybody," Oklahoma City visitor Alexis Bjork said.

"There's a lot of business people, there's a lot of people in these buildings," said Alex Ait, who works downtown.

About 15 feet underground, there's a tunnel that holds all the utilities for the First National Building. The Oklahoma City Fire Department says three OG&E workers were underground doing some electrical work when a transformer failed and exploded.

"Everybody was sitting at a bar. It was like boom, like a big explosion," said Ait. "And then it was like smoke coming all the way out like 30 feet in the air. So everybody kind of got scared. It was people running."

4/5/2013 Related Story: Explosion Reported In Downtown OKC

"Had a minor fire down there. They extinguished most of the fire," said OCFD Batallion Chief Tommy Lago. "We sent two companies down there to make sure the fire was extinguished."

Lago says firefighters used dry extinguishing chemicals to put the underground fire out. Power also had to be turned off before they could make their entrance.

"We took all precautions prior to entering the tunnel," Lago said.

"We were just walking around trying to find something to do on a Friday night, and saw this and kinda thought, Wow," OKC visitor Matt Bjork said.

"I think if you've lived here long enough, it will make you jumpy," said Nicole Thomas, who also works downtown. "Explosions in Oklahoma City don't mix we'll. We don't like them."

OCFD says one OG&E employee did have some minor injuries from the explosion, but was treated on scene and expected to be okay. OCFD says no evacuations were necessary.