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Court offices closed by underground explosion reopen Thursday

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The state court offices located at 30 S. Meridian St. in downtown Indianapolis are open Thursday. The building was evacuated and workers were sent home early after several underground transformer explosions Wednesday afternoon.

The offices of the  Board of Law Examiners, Continuing Legal Education, Disciplinary Commission, Division of State Court Administration and Indiana Judicial Center are housed in the building. 

Severs in the appellate court data center were shut down Wednesday, which made the appellate courts online docket, Roll of Attorneys and Clerk of Courts Portal unavailable. Those services are expected to be enabled Thursday morning.

A series of small underground transformer explosions rocked downtown Indianapolis on Wednesday, sending brownish-gray smoke billowing into the streets and forcing evacuations from nearby buildings.

The explosions about 1:30 p.m. outside the Circle Centre shopping and entertainment mall rattled windows and sent police officers rushing into the area to evacuate workers and other onlookers to a safe distance away, Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said.

No one was injured.

"It was just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then they cleared the entire block," Mark Neyland, an operations manager for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, told The Indianapolis Star. The agency has its offices near the site of the explosions.

Bruce Plott, a construction worker who was nearby, said he heard what sounded like someone banging on aluminum garbage cans as he walked down some stairs around the corner from where the explosions occurred.

"It went on for almost 10 minutes," Plott told WIBC-FM. "It was pretty scary, so I walked around the corner and saw the smoke coming out of the sidewalk."

Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs went to the scene for briefings from firefighters and Indianapolis Power & Light, Reith said.

IPL issued a statement saying a network protector failed in an underground vault holding four transformers that provide power to part of the mall. IPL cut power to two restaurants and a portion of the mall while it investigated the failure.

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