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Breaking News

Three-Alarm Underground Fire Breaks Out in Downtown Chicago

Aired September 14, 2000 - 3:14 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Roger, we have a situation in the Chicago Loop this afternoon, it's downtown near Wacker Drive and Dearborn, if you're familiar with the area. It began with some transformer work being done by workers from Commonwealth Edison, then there was a series of explosions described as like "popping popcorn," a three-alarm underground fire followed, that fire apparently now is out, but a hazardous materials team is present in the area and we understand if it hasn't happened already, power will be shut off to the downtown area.

A number of offices had to be evacuated before that operation, folks were leaving their purses and their personal belongings behind, just clearing out of the buildings as police moved to clear that area. The underground rail system may be affected when the power is shut off, but we don't know all the answers, so all the questions being asked. A news conference is being scheduled by Mayor Richard Daley's office in just a few minutes, perhaps we will know more then.

But downtown Chicago is having a hassle this afternoon, no injuries were reported, but there was that three-alarm fire. Now there's a hazardous materials team on the scene, folks are without their offices at the moment, whether they will be able to get back inside is another -- a worry. There is a major traffic jam downtown between Wacker Drive and Madison and State Street to Wells.

We'll keep you posted on the story. I'm Lou Waters at CNN Center. More of "TALKBACK LIVE" after a short break.

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