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Underground fire in Columbus, Ohio sends manhole covers flying

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An underground fire ripped through downtown Columbus early on Friday, causing explosions and sending manhole covers flying into the air in the Ohio state capital.

No injuries were reported following the pre-dawn blaze in an underground network vault owned by American Electric Power (AEP), a local public utility, fire officials said.

Traffic lights and electricity were out in many parts of the area on Friday morning, according to the Columbus Police Department. Many businesses, including the state's government offices, were closed for the day.

"There was an additional explosion after we had been on the scene for a while. At that point, the fire wasn't under control ... so they shut the power to the grid down," Columbus Fire Captain James Lewis told radio broadcaster WOSU.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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