Pedestrians walking along Toronto’s financial district were in for a rude shock on Monday. A series of blasts led to a hurried evacuation and a complete shutdown in the middle of the afternoon when smoke filled the street.

The blasts were reportedly due to a fire in a hydro vault. No injuries were reported but several witnesses were naturally left shaken. One of them, Mike Anderson, narrowly escaped the explosion which took place seconds after he walked past the area. “It was literally just, ‘boom’”, he said, with no warning at all. Anderson, along with others who were around the site of the explosion, managed to film the accident, as it happened.

“I thought maybe it was a car accident – but I mean, no car accident I’ve ever heard before,” he added in a National Post report. “I saw brown smoke coming up. The grate’s rattling. It exploded maybe three or four more times.” Commuters ran for cover as the explosions took place, causing panic around Scotia Plaza, the city’s third largest skyscraper, at King West and Bay Street.

Not everyone was as troubled by the life-threatening incident, though. Some investment bankers were criticised for choosing to ignore the chaos outside their offices and continue to work. “If the building was burning down, they would still stay up to either finish their conference call or their meeting discussing whatever they need to discuss,” a man who works in the same building was quoted as saying. “It could be too late.”