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May 20. 2014 9:47PM

Power outage hits downtown Nashua after wire is damaged

NASHUA — A large section of downtown Nashua, including hundreds of businesses and homes, were without electricity on Tuesday morning after a high tension power line was damaged.

The incident caused several elderly individuals to be trapped inside of elevators within different apartment units throughout the Gate City, and prompted Southern New Hampshire Medical Center to utilize its generator.

“There were a lot of calls associated with the power outage,” said Deputy Fire Chief Karl Gerhard. “We had numerous elevator rescues.”

An occupant at 30 Temple St. was stuck inside an elevator for approximately half an hour, according to Gerhard, who praised the individual for remaining calm until the elevator repair company could arrive.

Firefighters were able to successfully rescue other individuals from different elevators during the hour-long outage, without assistance from service repair workers, said Gerhard.

According to Michael Skelton, media spokesperson for Public Service of New Hampshire, an estimated 1,650 customers were without electricity in downtown Nashua from about 10:40 a.m. until 11:20 a.m.

“Cause of damage is still under investigation, but occurred when a section of wire was damaged in an off road right-of-way near Temple Street,” said Skelton. “Power was restored after we re-routed power from a different nearby substation than the normal substation that feeds that line.”

Crews were continuing to make repairs to the damaged line on Tuesday evening, and were expected to finish the work by the end of the day.

The downed power line ignited a small brush fire Tuesday morning near a Temple Street neighborhood along the railroad tracks, according to Gerhard.

“It was a bit of a thick area,” said Gerhard, adding fire crews had to wait until utility workers killed the electricity before extinguishing the blaze, which spread to an area about the size of 75 feet by 25 feet.

“No homes were threatened in that area,” he stressed.

Emergency crews were also busy Tuesday morning dealing with a water main break on Northeastern Boulevard near Harris Road.

“Workers had to isolate the break in order to restore the water,” said Justin Kates, director of emergency management for the city. “Fortunately, that was under control relatively quickly.”

Water was temporarily shut off on Northeastern Boulevard from Holiday Circle to Saxon Lane, said Kates, adding Industrial Drive was also impacted by the water main problem.

khoughton@newstote


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