NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Underground Con Edison cables caught fire in Astoria, Queens Thursday afternoon, prompting the evacuation of three homes.

As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, 36th Street in Astoria has attached houses on either side. But none of them had caught fire.

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Instead, residents saw flames coming up from the ground.

“I thought we were going to blow up,” one man said.

“The fire came from the sidewalk – I was scared,” another man said.

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Acting Deputy FDNY Chief James Maloney said firefighters initially thought gas was escaping underground. But it turned out that Con Ed cables were burning.

“We have an electrical fire that was burning underneath the street, and it was running down the block, and any place that there was a crevice or a crack, the fire was coming up through the cracks,” Maloney said.

No one was injured, but three homes were evacuated where the carbon monoxide levels were deemed too high.

Gas was also turned off to the area, and electricity was turned off on 36th Street between 23rd and 24th avenues.

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