1999-07-10 / Front Page

How Hot was It?...Too Hot For Words

NYPD, FDNY and EMS were immediately on the scene when a transformer exploded, leaving several buildings along Shore Front parkway without electricity.
By John McLoughlin

Rockaway was left in the dark after several blackouts and one transformer blew over the Fourth of July weekend. Several blocks of Shore Front parkway, including the Surfside buildings, were without electricity when a transformer exploded at 7:19 p.m. on Monday, July 5.

Fifty-five firefighters from 14 units responded to the ‘all-hands’ fire that occurred at 1 Beach 105 street after the transformer blew. By 9:02 p.m. the fire, which was in the transformer room, was under control and electricity was restored to the area an hour later.

Tenants were trapped in their apartments for several hours, with many of the elderly sitting on their patios in hopes of a cool breeze to fight off the unbearable summer heat. A young man, who was trapped in the elevator after the electricity went down, was rescued by firefighters as the NYPD circled the building’s perimeter ensuring safety to all residents.

After the fire was under control, LIPA was on site to restore electricity. Michael Lowndes of LIPA told The Wave everything has "been taken care of" and said that a blown transformer is "common with the increased dramatic heat." Lowndes explained that due to the excessive drain on electricity the transformer overheated, causing it to catch on fire. LIPA recommends that tenants and residents could avoid blackouts and transformer problems by being judicious with air conditioners, setting the thermostat at 78, using ceiling fans as an alternative, and running dish washers in the early morning or late evening.

Residents of Beach 129 street were also victims to a blown transformer and blackout on Monday night at 10 p.m. Twenty-five homes by the bayside were affected by the blackout, which was caused by an excessive amount of appliances being used. Temperatures reached 92 degrees in some homes before electricity was restored 12 hours later. Residents were steaming that they lost refrigerated food, calling on LIPA to pay for their loses. LIPA informed residents that their only liability is if appliances blow when the electricity is turned on.

Broad Channel residents also had to suffer through a blackout, causing traffic lights to stop working and stores to shut down for the day.




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