Melting snow, road salt lead to smoking manholes in D.C.

WASHINGTON – Smoking manholes got the attention of some people in the District Sunday.

Pepco spokesman Matt Likovich says the smoking that was seen was most likely caused by salt put down by road crews. As snow, salt and ice on the roads melted during the day and filtered into various manhole covers, it trickled down onto equipment, and created a smoking effect.

D.C. Fire did get calls about an exploding manhole cover on the National Mall earlier Sunday, but Likovich says there was no explosion.

“That was from a blown fuse on a transformer. And when a fuse blows on a transformer it’s a really loud sound, it’s like a firecracker sound. It’s conceivable that people misconstrued that loud noise on the blown fuse box for a problem with a manhole cover. But we had no reports today, our crews went out there – we had no incidents of exploding manhole covers.”

Crews got about 10 to 15 calls about smoking manhole covers throughout the day, mainly in the Northwest D.C. area.

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