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Parts Of Newark Still Without Power After Early Morning Fire Damages Equipment

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Parts of Newark were without power Thursday after an overnight fire badly damaged equipment.

PSEG crews were working to repair the problem, but downtown Newark remained in the dark as of Thursday evening.

According to PSEG, the outage began with a manhole fire at University Avenue and Bleeker Street at around 1:30 a.m.

Students captured the flames on camera on a street where broken pieces of a manhole cover were scattered across the sidewalk.

"It was just flames shooting out of the ground," Bryan Chelacki told CBS2's Ilana Gold.

Parts of Rutgers University campus and St. Michael's Hospital were off-line following the incident.

"Some of the buildings will be out most like until later in the evening," PSEG spokesperson Karen Johnson said. "We are bringing in portable generators to serve St. Michael's Hospital, which is operating on their own generator power right now."

Power has been out at five Rutgers academic buildings, and the library ever since, and 140 classes had to be cancelled.

"Assignments are still due, so we have to go out of our way to find wi-fi," Sophia Chiotis said.

With two dorms in the dark, Chiotis and hundreds of others have been scrambling for a solution.

"In the showers there are no lights. We have to go in there with flashlights," she said.

Five other nearby locations including the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and even the PSE&G building were still without electricity Thursday evening.

"We're working as quickly and safely as we can. We understand it's an inconvenience, but we can make repairs as quickly and safely as we can," Karen Johnson, PSE&G said.

PSE&G is trying to figure out what led to the failure.

Workers have to run cable through the underground network to make a permanent fix. They said power may not be restored until 11 p.m. tonight.

A spokesperson for Rutgers said the school anticipates that repairs will be made by tonight, and is planning for classes to resume in the morning.

PSEG said the outage is contained to the downtown area.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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