NEW YORK (AP) — New York City fire officials say corrosion in underground electrical cables led to a chain-reaction fire that destroyed two cars near manholes.

WABC-TV reports the two cars were destroyed after an underground fire Tuesday afternoon in the Bronx. The fire set off large plumes of black smoke up 80 feet into the air.

Responding firefighters had the flames under control within minutes. Utility officials remained on the scene to return power to two nearby apartment buildings.

According to the television station, manhole fires are common this time of year. Underground wires get corroded by salt used on roads in the winter, and the corroded wires start to simmer — which produces flammable gases that can catch fire.


Information from: WABC-TV,