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So This Is Why Manholes Keep Catching on Fire

Two people were injured when a several manholes exploded from salt water seeping into transformers on Prospect Park West and 5th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn this afternoon.

Manholes weaponized this month, with more than 300 exploding in flames since last week’s Snowmaggedon and one cover even hitting a 71-year-old man on the head as it flew through the air. It turns out the answer to why these things keep happening is quite simple: salt. According to CBS News, icy weather means that salt sprinkled on roads eventually runs down under the manhole covers, where it has a chance of coming into contact with exposed copper wiring, sparking, and igniting various trapped underground gases. Slotted manhole covers should eventually alleviate these instances a bit, but, for now, Con Ed underground operating supervisor Al Munro says battling these fires is like “going into battle.”

So This Is Why Manholes Keep Catching on Fire