Electrical Explosion in Downtown Houston Sends Five Workers to Hospital

An electrical explosion in downtown Houston this morning sent five Centerpoint Energy workers to the hospital, according to the Houston Fire Department. Ruy Lozano, HFD's spokesman, said the burns were all significant. "The flash burn was very significant to the majority of the bodies," Lozano told Hair Balls, noting that the five had been taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. "They were arc burns, really large, significant flash arc burns -- some had the majority of their body burned, some had hands and feet. They were all significant injuries."

The explosion, which exposed the workers to 480 volts and took place along the 1100 block of Capitol Street in the Southwestern Bell Building, left a large, charred burn along the building's eastern face. HFD termed the explosion an "electrical vault incident" in the building's basement. Smoke was still seen rising from a hole in the sidewalk an hour after the explosion first took place.

HFD noted that there was "[m]inimal fire damage." Calls to Centerpoint Energy have not yet been returned.

When asked if everyone was safe, one Centerpoint worker, separated from his colleagues, finished drinking his water. He looked down, and said, "No, man. No."

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