The exploding Omaha manhole mystery

What caused all the manholes on 
this street in Omaha to belch fire?
(Click to enlarge)

It was an amazing photo of manholes with fire shooting out of them during an underground fire. There actually was a fire. But was it a real photo, or was it a fake?
The mystery began in a bar, as any good mystery should.

The patrons and employees of the Boiler Room had all seen the photo — the one that appears to show multiple fireballs shooting from the manhole covers along Howard Street, the defining image of the Sunday manhole fire that plunged downtown Omaha into darkness.

It seemed like every Internet-addled Omahan had seen the photo, which spread like an uncontrollable online manhole fire starting that night.

Nearly 1.5 million people viewed it on Reddit. It had been tweeted and re-tweeted and re-re-tweeted, and everyone appeared to be having the same argument that I engaged in Monday night at the Boiler Room.

It's real, some people said. It's clearly a fake, and you are an idiot, other people said.
A reporter decides to uncover the truth:
It included a man named Kenneth who wore no pants, a lawyer named Gwen who works in my own office building and a lot of purposeful staring at a fuzzy, blown-up iPhone image as if it were a modern-day Zapruder film.
And the truth, well it's almost stranger than fiction:

Read on: Hansen: The great Omaha manhole fireball photo mystery, Omaha.com>>

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