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Power Outage Disrupts North Berkshire, Closes Schools
Staff Reports,
11:03AM / Friday, May 09, 2014
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An officer directs traffic Friday morning in North Adams after a substation fire left thousands without power.

National Grid workers were on the scene at the Adams substation.

One of the transformers at the substation in Adams caught fire Friday morning, cutting power to more than 19,000 customers.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A massive power outage affected all of North Berkshire this morning and apparently parts of Southern Vermont.

A National Grid transformer station caught fire behind the Holland Co. in Adams some time before 3 on Friday morning. Power was not restored until 10:03 a.m.

Nearly 20,000 customers were without power; more than 5,000 customers were still waiting for power in parts of Williamstown and Lanesborough at 11 a.m.

An Adams resident across the street from Holland said he heard a boom and shaking at about 2:30 a.m.; one of his children said she looked out the window and saw an explosion.

National Grid spokesman Jake Navarro said the fire "originated in a circuit breaker" and caused enough damage at the feeder station to cut power to 19,600 customers in Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Hancock, Lanesborough, North Adams and Williamstown.

The region was out of power for at least seven hours or longer because of the damage.  

"It took us a long time because we had to make sure it was safe," said Navarro. "This was an equipment failure. We do monitor our equipment regularly but this is just a piece that unfortunately failed. We restored power as quickly and safely as possible."

The outage closed schools throughout Northern Berkshire; the outage also affected Stamford (Vt.) School, which opened after a two-hour delay.

North Adams schools had initially posted a two-hour delay but decided to close the schools when the timing for power restoration was uncertain. Adams-Cheshire, Mount Greylock, Berkshire Arts & Technology, McCann Technical, Gabriel Abbot and Williamstown also were confirmed closed for the day. Final exams were interrupted at MCLA, but continued once power was restored.

Athletic directors at Drury, Hoosac Valley, McCann Tech and Mount Greylock all report their sporting events are going on as scheduled on Friday afternoon — assuming the weather permits.

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