HASTINGS, Neb. — Officials in Hastings are investigating after the fire department says volatile chemicals blew a manhole cover.

It happened around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon in the 400 block of S. Woodland, which is directly north of Brickyard Park. Hastings Fire and Rescue says vapors from volatile chemicals went through a dry sewer line into the basement of a nearby home. 

“In the home, the ignition of the furnace caused a brief flash fire that ignited vapors in the sewer system, causing the manhole cover to be blown off,” HFR said in a social media post.

Nobody was injured.

In response, HFR worked with Hastings Utilities to ventilate and flush the sewer lines with large amounts of water in an effort to clear any more chemicals and vapors. The social media post says many residents reported smelling gasoline or acetone in their homes.

HFR continues to work with the utilities department to find the source of the chemicals.

From the post: “HFR reminds everyone not to put chemicals down their drains or dump them in the streets. It is also important to make sure the pea traps in your house, especially the ones in the basement have water in them. You can do this by dumping a cup of water in rarely used drains (especially floor drains) once a month. These pea traps keep sewer gases from entering your homes.”