Sewer leak led to French Quarter explosion that tossed manhole covers, burned car

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NEW ORLEANS - The NOFD has confirmed that a sewage leak beneath the streets of the French Quarter led to an explosion this morning that sent multiple manhole covers flying through the air and caught one car on fire.

The explosion occurred just after 5 a.m. in the 500 block of Dauphine Street.

NOFD chief Tim McConnell said the fiery situation began with a sewer leak.

“We don’t know the source of it [the leak], but it got into the electrical vault,” McConnell said. “The power lines all run underground in the French Quarter, and the methane gas that was produced from the sewer was ignited by an electrical arc, and that’s what caused the explosion.”

The force of the explosion tossed at least four manhole covers into the air.

Those manhole covers landed in the street, crashed into parked vehicles, and slammed into buildings.

“One of the manhole covers was right under a car, and the car was ignited and burned,” McConnell said.

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Photos from the scene show a charred and crumpled section of the sidewalk next to the spot where the car was parked.

Entergy crews have pumped the sewerage out of the underground vault, and the methane gas buildup has dissipated, preventing another explosion.

The cause of the leak is still under investigation.

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