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Underground Transformer Fire Sparks Power Outage In Downtown Newark

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- An underground transformer fire was to blame for a widespread power outage affecting several prominent businesses in downtown Newark Saturday afternoon.

Police and fire crews responded to the reports of smoke coming from manhole covers shortly before 3 p.m.

Newark Manhold Fire
Crews tending to manhole fire in downtown Newark. (credit: Twitter/@mannyfaces)

Service was disrupted to several high profile businesses in the area, including a residence hall at Rutgers University and NJIT. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center tweeted that Saturday night's Eric Johnson was also cancelled due to the outage.

"I was standing in front of the hotel and I just heard a loud explosion," said Newark resident Scott Simpson. "As I walked to the corner you could see the green smoke billowing up."

Widespread traffic signal outages were also reported in the area.

No injuries were immediately reported.

PSE&G says at the height of the outage, service was out to approximately 1,500 customers as crews waited to inspect the damaged electrical facilities. The utility company said they expected some customers to be back online by 4 a.m., with the majority of the remaining customers back by 7 a.m.

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