A transformer fire caused a Boston power outage on Tuesday night. A three-alarm fire in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood from a 115,000-volt transformer on Scotia Street behind Hilton Hotel caused 13,000 Hub residents without power and police having to direct traffic through intersections.
Jose Parody, 18, a Berklee College of Music freshman told the Boston Globe, “It just kind of feels like a movie. All the streets are turned off and the cop lights and the sounds, the helicopter sounds.”
Becky Ripley, 59, of Maryland was staying at the Hilton Back Bay Boston and told the Boston Globe, “It was nasty. It smelled like chemicals, and it burned my eyes a little.”
Spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman said in a release, “Nstar has restored power to 8,000 customers as of 5:30 this morning and workers will be working throughout the day to get the remaining 13,000 up and running.” She said officials predicted that would take until at least tonight. Until then the utility will be relying on generators brought in from across New England and New York.
One man told CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod, “Our condo building lost power completely. So I went on the roof deck and I looked over and I saw just massive, black plumes of smoke.”
The Boston Power outage spread from the Back Bay to the adjacent Theater District, Chinatown, Kenmore Square and the South End.
City officials were urging people to take public transportation Wednesday morning and as well as seek alternate routes around the Back Bay area. Dozens of intersections remained without traffic lights. The fire department said, “Cleanup has been non-stop since midnight.”
The Prudential Tunnel on the Massachusetts Turnpike reopened Wednesday morning. While two subway stops in the area remain closed.
No serious injuries are being reported, and there were no reports of looting, but police did shut down surrounding streets as a precaution.
Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve McDonald said, “This is a massive outage. We’ve activated a large number of officers so that there will be visibility throughout the affected area.”
“We’re all working hard on this. We want to be back online as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Tom Menino.