Tonawanda News — Stuart said the power junction is an access point to several high-voltage supply cables. Following the fire, a service panel located in a room in the rear of the plaza had filled with unusually pungent smoke, he said.
“It was really chugging,” he said. “It was thick, black smoke and really pungent — more than what we typically get from an electrical fire.”
He said neither the fire department nor National Grid has yet identified whether the fire involved the utility’s infrastructure or private installations. The fire appears to have taken place somewhere between the manhole and a nearby, above-ground relay panel located near some shrubs.
National Grid officials late Wednesday did not announce how long power would be out to the businesses — spread throughout an entire city block.
“It’s going to be long term,” Stuart said. “The goal is to isolate the buildings from the feed where the problem occurred and get the heat back on and get the businesses back up and running while the repairs are made.”
Billy Szortyka, a senior property supervisor for Benderson, said the building owner is working to keep in close contact with tenants while officials probe the problem — but that it’s difficult to put a time frame on the fix.
“What we’ll do is our best to try to get everybody up and running,” Szortyka said. “Given the situation we’re not sure if that’s possible right now. We’ll just move forward and try to make sure it goes smoothly.”
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at 693-1000, ext. 4114.Contact city editor Neale Gulley at 693-1000, ext. 4114.