Todd Carter, left, and another employee with Central Maine Power Co. work Monday under the sidewalk in downtown Waterville to determine what caused an underground cable to short-circuit. The short caused smoke to waft up along Main Street. CMP cut power to the area, affecting several businesses. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Several downtown businesses were temporarily without power Monday after an underground cable apparently shorted, causing smoke to waft up from vents along the sidewalk.

Scott Moen, a lineman with Central Maine Power Co., said the cable buried beneath Main Street shorted and began shaking. It was an isolated matter, but CMP cut power to downtown until the extent of the damage to the cable could be determined, he said.

Power was shut off at about 8:30 a.m., and some businesses reported it had been restored by about 11 a.m.

Downtown workers gathered outside on Main Street to watch as CMP crews taped off sections of the sidewalk and climbed underground to assess the situation.

A crew from Central Maine Power Co. works Monday in an area below the sidewalk following a power outage on Main Street in downtown Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Fire crews were on hand to help ventilate downtown businesses. Holy Cannoli co-owner Jason Furchak said the restaurant’s basement filled with smoke just before 8:30 a.m. He also said two of his employees were treated for smoke inhalation, but not seriously hurt.

An employee at Holy Cannoli, who identified herself only by her first name, Kim, said the sidewalk outside the restaurant began shaking before smoke filled the area.

“We smelled rubber burning,” she said. “Then the ground started shaking and smoke started pouring from underground. It was very strange. I’d never seen anything like it before.”

Holy Cannoli co-owner Jason Furchak, center, waits Monday morning outside his restaurant at 70 Main St. in Waterville, where firefighters and workers from Central Maine Power Co. gathered during a power outage in downtown Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: