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The Nation

June 19, 1989

Power was restored to downtown and residential areas of Omaha after a blackout caused by an explosion in a transformer vault that also knocked out telephone operator service to parts of three states. Three telephone workers who were replacing a switching unit were critically burned. About 13,000 volts of electricity were running through the underground equipment when a flash fire sparked the explosion, forcing the evacuation of neighboring US West Communications and AT&T buildings, officials said. Two of the victims who were in the vault at the time of the blast, a man and a woman, "breathed in fire," a nursing supervisor said.

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