Fire at Adams substation leaves 18,500-plus in dark for hours


Photo Gallery | Northern Berkshire blackout caused by substation fire

ADAMS -- An equipment failure at an Adams substation shortly after 11:30 a.m. left more than 18,500 customers in Northern Berkshire without power for several hours on Tuesday. Power was restored at approximately 3:30.

The outage resulted from a fire at the substation on Zylonite Station Road.

Adams Fire Chief Paul "PJ" Goyette said a bolstered force of roughly 15 town firefighters remained on shift dealing with calls related to power outages most of the day.

"Right after the power went out, we were dispatched to Greylock Federal Credit Union for a person trapped in an elevator," Adams Fire Chief Paul "PJ" Goyette said. "She was extricated very quickly and sent on her way."

Power resumed briefly about 10 minutes after 1 p.m. but went back out due to continued problems at the station.

Goyette said his staff performed a quick investigation of the facility and reported the matter to National Grid, whom he credited for their quick response.

By 2 p.m., some 18,441 customers were still listed without power. Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler issued a Code Red Alert just before 2 p.m., letting residents know that a cooling station had been opened at the Adams Water Department offices. He also said water pressure in parts of town were low as a result of the extended power outage.

Elsewhere, Cheshire and Adams firefighters responded to Hoosac Valley Middle & High School, as power surges triggered the school's alarm system several times.

North Adams Fire Department responded to numerous alarm activations as well and a blown fuse on High Street after the power came back on, according to city Fire Chief Steve Meranti.

Customers affected by the outages were in Adams, North Adams, Williamstown, Clarksburg, Cheshire, Hancock and Florida.

A fire broke out at the same substation on May 9, that time leaving roughly 20,000 customers without power for several hours.

Goyette said he believed a switchgear, not a transformer, was responsible for the troubles at the station Tuesday.

To reach Phil Demers:
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