RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Power is not back on at the Bank of America building. This may mean businesses in the building will not be back open Friday morning.
Dominion Virginia Power says crews will continue to work throughout the night to get the power on and also figure out how the fire started.
Witnesses say a thick cloud of black smoke was billowing out from underground.
"All of a sudden it just started doing lots of fire cracker noises," said Krista Sommers.
Several explosions shook the downtown area just after 3 p.m. Hundreds of people were evacuated out of the Bank of America building. Fire officials say the electricity vault caught fire, 18 feet below the sidewalk -- and flames shot up as high as 10 feet above ground.
"When the lights started flickering I guess everybody felt the building shaking too and they finally started getting everybody out of there. It was scary, it was really scary," said Sommers.
"When the fire dept started putting water on it of course with the electricity that's when everything started popping," said witness, Darryl Ellyson.
Dominion Virginia Power Company shut off power immediately so fire crews could battle the blaze. At least two dozen firefighters were on hand.
Fortunately no one was hurt. But at one point 183 customers were affected. By 6:30 pm, all but one customer, the Bank of America building had its power restored.