A massive cleanup operation is underway following a water main break and several manhole fires that snarled traffic during the morning commute and led to the evacuation of nearby buildings.
Shortly after 5 a.m., a 20-inch water main break flooded streets on Kneeland and Washington Streets in the Chinatown area of the city.
Water could be seen flowing into buildings and roads and was ankle-deep in some areas.
Hours later, during the cleanup of the water main break, several manhole fires broke out in the area, with flames and heavy smoke visible from manholes throughout the region.
Several area buildings were evacuated, including a local youth hostel.
Officials said the water likely shorted out electrical wires, leading to fires.
MBTA buses were re-routed due to the water main breaks and the fire activity.
Cleanup should last for several hours, and fire officials are going building to building to check carbon monoxide levels.
Officials say the evening commute will likely be impacted.