Vehicle falls through ground into hydro vault in downtown Windsor

Power is out for some in downtown Windsor after a piece of asphalt collapsed into a hydro vault downtown while there was a car on top of it.

Mike Coste, fire prevention officer for Windsor Fire, said there were no injuries. Fire and rescue is on scene, he added, and the cause is under investigation.

Police and firefighters responded to the hydro vault collapse behind a condo building in downtown Windsor on Sept. 19, 2023. (Mike Evans/CBC)

It happened in an alleyway behind the Royal Windsor Terrace condo building at 380 Pelissier Street on Tuesday afternoon.

Misty Sergi is the owner of The Gifting Tree, the business next door.

“I was just at my door and I heard this huge explosion that I’ve never heard before, so I ran out of my store,” she said.

Photos from the scene show a damaged vehicle that had fallen through the surface above it. A photo shared by Mayor Drew Dilkens showed scorch marks and what appears to be damaged equipment.

“Developing situation in downtown Windsor involving an accident. Be advised that hydro and communication services are affected in the core,” Dilkens said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Enwin’s outage map lists several active outages in the downtown area that were under investigation. 

The utility said that the outage was due to “significant damage” to underground electrical infrastructure.

“At this time, ENWIN crews have been dispatched and are assessing the restoration effort,” the company said. “Further information related to this customer outage will be provided as soon as it is available.”

James Waffle, deputy chief of operations for Windsor Fire and Rescue, said people should use caution in driving through the downtown.

“Most of the traffic lights are out in the surrounding blocks so make sure you’re stopping and being aware of your surroundings,” he said.

A Windsor street taped off with caution tape and multiple Windsor fire vehicles.
The collapse of an electrical vault in downtown Windsor on Tuesday afternoon prompted a large Windsor fire presence. (Mike Evans/CBC)

In a statement, the Downtown Windsor BIA said it was “deeply concerned” about the incident. 

“We recognize the potential disruptions this event may cause businesses in the immediate area,” the BIA said. “Please be assured that the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Area is committed to offering our full support to all affected businesses during this challenging time.”

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