Utility fire cuts power to thousands in downtown Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Utility fire cuts power to thousands in downtown Portland

Posted: Updated: May 23, 2017 11:48 AM
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Power was knocked out to thousands of customers Monday night, and Pacific Power said Tuesday morning that they may not have it fully restored until 9 p.m.

Crews said the outage was caused by a utility fire.

Around 6 p.m., Portland Fire & Rescue said they responded to multiple reports of smoke coming from underground grates in northwest Portland roadways, mostly in the Northwest Park blocks area.

Crews said burning material was visible from the street when looking down through the grates.

Firefighters tracked the problem to an electrical vault fire. An electrical vault is an underground room providing access to utility equipment.

Crews said they followed normal operating procedure and did not pour water on the fire but instead evaluated and contained the situation.

Firefighters said the fire is under control, but power outages have been reported throughout the area. Over 2,000 customers may be without power until 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to Pacific Power.

The initial power outage area Monday night extended from Broadway to Interstate 405 and Northeast Davis to Southwest Jefferson Street.

Officials Tuesday said the outage area had decreased to an area from I-405 to Southwest 9th Avenue to Northwest Davis to Southwest Main Street. 

Pacific Power said there was damage to their system, so they de-energized part of the grid to save the system. 

The Portland Bureau of Transportation said the outage is shrinking and crews are working to restore power near North Park blocks. See the latest outage numbers here

TriMet riders should plan for extra time when traveling Tuesday as the MAX Red and Blue lines and some bus lines may be delayed due to dark traffic signals.

PBOT is asking people driving, walking or biking to treat traffic signals without power as all-way stop signs.

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