'It sounded like a cannon': Multiple manhole explosions rock Brookline

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Emergency responders rushed to Brookline on Wednesday evening after four manholes exploded.

The fire department said the incident happened at the intersection between Cypress Street and Route 9 (Boylston Street) at around 6:30 p.m.

According to firefighters, the explosions stemmed from an apparent gas leak.

"There was an odor of gas in the neighborhood and we believe that caused the explosion. We don't know what ignited the gas," said Brookline Deputy Fire Chief Pat Canney.

The response to the incident was quick as firefighters had been in the area responding to reports of carbon monoxide at a nearby home.

While Brookline Police had previously confirmed there were reports of two manhole explosions, Deputy Chief Canney said there had been four explosions. Eversource crews also responded to the scene.

"We just saw a manhole fly up, it sounded like a cannon," said Josh Nissenbaum.

"People all over town heard this explosion," Canney said, and residents nearby felt the impact.

No injuries were reported, but there was some damage to windows in nearby buildings.

"Very loud explosion, [it] shook the house," said Bob Bowditch. "Made you say, 'Wow, what was that?'"

Nearby streets were temporarily shut down due to the response and officials were asking people to avoid the area. The explosions prompted street closures that, along with rush hour traffic, made for a standstill Wednesday evening. Route 9 was reopened at around 10:30 p.m.

Early Thursday morning, crews from Eversource, which supplies electricity to the area, and National Grid, which supplies the gas, were still at the scene of the explosions and MassDOT said all eastbound lanes on Route 9 were open, but only one lane is open on the westbound side.

Rod Rosales was just yards away from the manholes when he saw one shoot up in the air.

"Next thing we hear this huge explosion," said Rosales. "It was like watching a movie and it was flying as if you were flipping a penny."

He says the cover flew 15 to 20 feet into the air.

Firefighters had to ask residents and business owners in the area for access to their basements in order to further investigate the incident.

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