An estimated 1,160 area customers lost power for over an hour Thursday night after a transformer fire at First Energy's Salem Substation on South Ellsworth Avenue resulted in equipment failure.
City firefighters arrived on the scene at 6:54 p.m. after a passerby called about a transformer on fire at the substation, just south of the railroad crossing.
Perry Township firefighters had also been called, but left since it was in the city's jurisdiction.
Due to an assumed large amount of electrical voltage inside the locked, enclosed area where the transformer was located, firefighters waited until First Energy arrived to survey the situation and give them direction.
Once First Energy workers de-energized the transformer, firefighters used portable dry chemical extinguishers to put out the flames, especially since there was still live electrical current nearby.
Ohio Edison Area Manager David Turner said the 1,160 customers lost power at 7:30 p.m., with power restored by 8:45 p.m. He said the cause of the power outage was equipment failure. Workers had to open up the circuit breaker to remove the damaged equipment.
"Our main concern was getting the fire out and restoring service to our customers," he said.
They didn't know the cause of the fire, but he said they'll be investigating.
Firefighters cleared from the scene by 7:51 p.m.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org