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APS worker dead after fire in underground electrical vault in downtown Phoenix

KPNX-TV Phoenix logo KPNX-TV Phoenix 7/1/2019 Hayden Packwood
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An APS worker is dead after a fire in an underground electrical vault in downtown Phoenix near 1st Avenue and Washington Street Sunday night, Phoenix fire says.

According to Phoenix FD, two workers were involved in the incident, which has been described as an explosion. Firefighters found a "large amount of fire" coming from an APS manhole when they arrived on the scene just after 10:30 p.m.

Phoenix fire says one of the workers was able to get out of the vault himself. He had minor burns to his face and hands. He was taken to Maricopa Medical Burn Center in stable condition.

Fire crews had to wait until APS de-energized the vault. Once the fire was out, firefighters discovered one worker dead, according to Phoenix fire.

Phoenix FD says APS has informed them that there will be "numerous power outages" in several buildings in downtown Phoenix that could potentially last throughout the day Monday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. APS released a statement Monday morning saying the two workers were performing "planned maintenance" in the underground vault.

"We are deeply saddened to report that an APS employee died, and another was injured, in an accident on Sunday night while they were performing planned maintenance. They were working in downtown Phoenix in an underground vault that houses electrical infrastructure. The underground equipment involved serves downtown facilities and venues, some of which are without power today until the area can be deemed safe and repairs can be completed. The cause of the accident will be fully investigated.

Our focus is on the safety of those actively working the scene, the well-being of these employees’ co-workers and families and restoring power safely and quickly once repairs can begin. APS cannot provide an estimated time to have the power back on until more is known at the scene."

APS said these buildings in the area are without power

- Wells Fargo

- Phoenix Municipal Building

- Maricopa County Administration Building

- Phoenix Civic Plaza South.

Other sites, including the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, are working with "partial power," APS said.

Several streets in downtown Phoenix are closed

- 1st Avenue between Washington and Jefferson

- 1st Avenue southbound from Van Buren to Jefferson

- 1st Avenue between Adams and Van Buren

- Washington Street between 3rd Avenue and Central Avenue

- Monroe between 2nd Avenue to Central Avenue

- Adams Street from 2nd Avenue to Central Avenue

Valley Metro says three light rail stations in the area will be closed

- 1st Avenue/Van Buren

- 1st Avenue/Jefferson

-3rd Street/Jefferson

Valley Metro said to use the light rail stations at Central/Van Buren or 3rd St/Washington to travel in and out of downtown Phoenix.

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