EPB restores power to downtown Chattanooga

Power outage occured Tuesday night following electrical vault fire, explosion

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Bobby Terry and his wife were visiting from Alabama Tuesday night when their evening plans were suddenly changed.

“My wife and I were in our room and we noticed the lights flickering on and off,” Terry said. “She came downstairs, looked out the balcony and saw some commotion. [We] came downstairs and that’s when we were told that a manhole had caught on fire — electrical, lots of popping and noise-making, actually.”

Within the hour, the affected area grew to encompass Memorial Auditorium on McCallie Avenue all the way to the 600 block of Walnut Street.

Numerous traffic lights were out downtown and many Chattanoogans were left without air conditioning during one of the hottest nights of the year thus far.

Just after 11 p.m. Tuesday evening, the Chattanooga Fire Department said the department was “handing” over the situation to EPB, who got to work turning the Scenic City back on.

According to EPB Public Relations Coordinator Scottie Summerlin, power was successfully restored to all customers minus the nearby Ben and Jerry’s by 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Summerlin says the fire was “the result of an equipment failure in an underground electrical vault,” but that ‘there is no way to determine the ultimate cause of the failure.”

By noon Wednesday, EPB had “restored all fiber optics service” following the explosion.

EPB says they “disconnected the cables from the damaged vault,” allowing power to be safely restored downtown.

They also thanked the Chattanooga Fire and Police Departments, as well as the city, for the way they handled the situation on a steamy evening with no A/C.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News