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Queens Manhole Fires Leave Many Without Power As Temperatures Drop

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A series of manhole fires on Sunday caused a power outage in Queens.

Several residents were left without electricity or heat on a frigid cold day. The fires even forced one family out of their home due to carbon monoxide.

CBS2's Dave Carlin saw the problem at locations on and near Francis Lewis Boulevard.

Julie Ann Cameron said she was in her St. Albans home and heard a boom. She then went to investigate.

"We came out and we saw flames shooting up and the smoke," Cameron said.

MORE: CBS New York Winter Survival Guide

Utility crews spent hours on the job. Con Edison said it is possible the rain runoff mixed with salt to cause the underground sizzle and flames.

There were multiple power outages reported in Queens Village, just as temperatures started to plunge.

And to make things worse, Ureil Hope's home had to be evacuated due to high levels of carbon monoxide. He said his family has to bunk with a relative in Brooklyn.

"Stay over there for the night. Come back, hopefully tomorrow it's ready," Hope said.

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And Hope wasn't alone. Queens Village resident Chrstine Ramsay was stuck in a similar predicament.

"It's very bad because were getting cold now inside. It's cold on the outside and inside," said Ramsey, adding when asked if she saw the fire, "Yes, it was very awful, up in the air loud and a lot of smoke."

Then there was the Mridha family, which spent Sunday afternoon and into the evening with no power. They were in front of a dead television with blankets, planning a run for extra candles and take-out food later as they waited the situation out.

"That's not working. This light, that light, everything. The power is out," Swapan Mridha said.

Con Ed told CBS2 the power was restored to all impacted 35 customers by 7 p.m.

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