Updated: Crews restore power after fire at substation


A fire that broke out Saturday morning damaged a city substation and caused a citywide power outage that persisted through much of the day.

Shortly before 10 p.m., more than 15 hours after the trouble began, City Administrator Zack Thorington announced that the city believes it's come up with a temporary fix. Ultimately, the city will need to replace the fire-damaged equipment at the Vining Substation, located near the intersection of Ingalls and Seventh streets.

"Our wonderful electric crew spent most of the day troubleshooting and fixing the issues while trying not to harm anything else in the substation," he said. He added that the fire "created power issues of magnitudes that the City of Powell has never experienced before."

City crews restored power around mid-morning in most of the city, more quickly than they had predicted. But Thorington had warned that the substation would still need "major repairs" and asked residents to temporarily limit their power consumption to avoid another shutdown.

But the power went out again on Saturday afternoon after too much load demand on the crippled substation, Thorington said, Crews restored power and made arrangements to bring in a mobile substation to help power the city pending a permanent solution, he said.

"We can’t express how much we are thankful no one was hurt, and appreciate everyone’s understanding." Thorington said, also thanking the Powell Volunteer Fire Department, Garland Light and Power and the Western Area Power Administration for their help and knowledge.

On Facebook, Powell residents expressed appreciation for the city's work throughout the day.

"City of Powell: it’s in our nature to be more cynical than optimistic when voicing our opinions so I just wanted to take a second and say THANK YOU for busting your humps to get power restored to the town," Donny Mills wrote in a post on the group Powell Valley Exchange. His post had drawn more than 500 "likes" and "loves" as of Saturday night.