Store owners had to abandon their shops Monday after a manhole fire in Queens.
A video showed smoke billowing out of the manhole near 95th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights Monday just after 4:30 p.m.
Owners said they had to scramble to get their customers to safety.
"We had to evacuate the whole restaurant and all of the customers had to leave," said one business owner. "The cops came in and the fire department came in, so they had to leave."
"This is not the first time this happened," said another business owner. "This is the second time this happens. So people in the streets, they knew that something like this could happen when there is an overusage of electricity."
Con Edison crews were called to the scene to restore power.
There is no word on the exact cause but manhole fires often start in extremely hot weather when a piece of garbage or wire insulation ignites as the electrical system heats up because of increased usage.