AEP Floats Interesting Theory About Underground Columbus Fire

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American Electric Power has been working all day to restore electricity for many downtown Columbus businesses after an early morning fire and explosions. From Ohio public radio station WOSU, Steve Brown has more from power officials, including one interesting theory about what could have led to the fire.

American Electric says they’re still working to find out what led to the fire in an underground vault that caused at least three underground explosions that sent manhole covers flying into the air and into at least one nearby business.

AEP spokeswoman Teri Flora says they’re exploring an interesting theory: that the underground vault that caught fire was exposed to road salt after a nearby water main break.

“That’s just one thing that we’re looking at: to see how the amount of salt water that was used that got into our vaults that we did clear out may have impacted this equipment.”

AEP expected power to be restored by this morning, but Flora says equipment had to be shut back down when it started smoking.

The fire and subsequent outages forced several local businesses to close for the day, including AEP’s corporate headquarters.