ALBERTA

Cause Of Downtown Calgary Fire Still Unknown

10/15/2014 01:41 EDT | Updated 10/15/2014 01:59 EDT
CP

Thousands of downtown Calgary residents and businesses remain in the dark Wednesday, still without power after an underground fire over the weekend.

And while we know an electrical fire is what caused the lights to go out and the area to be closed off, Calgary's utility company is still saying very little about what caused Saturday's fire to ignite.

Calgarians are going to have to "continue to wait" for answers, Enmax CEO Gianna Manes told reporters Tuesday, as the utility company and city are still working together to figure out what went wrong.

"Not speculating as to what may have caused this and what may not have caused this,” she said, according to the Calgary Herald.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi told CBC News that investigators have found no evidence of tampering in the concrete chamber.

Story continues after the slideshow:

Downtown Calgary Electrical Fire

"I am very interested in knowing whether we have discovered a weak link in the system that needs to be fortified with these redundancies even more," he said.

"But I should highlight that, you know, this particular manhole had been serving without any problems for many decades and in fact had been upgraded within the last decade."

What Enmax will disclose, however, is exactly how much damage was done.

Manes told CTV News 127 high-voltage cables were destroyed in the blaze, and there were 130 high-voltage splices in the wreckage.

Response crews pulled 3.5 kilometres of cable and destroyed equipment from under the ground.

Several forensic and fire analysts suggested to the Herald that human interaction and bad connections are often the cause of underground electrical fires, as well as water corroding cables. However, none of the experts interviewed have direct knowledge of Saturday's fire.

“Until we can fully determine the cause of this, we aren’t ruling anything out that might have potentially impacted this section of the system, even though there was not water in this section during the flood,” Manes told reporters, addressing concerns last year's extensive flooding could have set the stage for future fires.

Power is expected to be restored to most of the area by Thursday.