Business owners react to the downtown underground electrical fire

Local News

Business owners are trying to return to normal after the fire that broke out beneath the sidewalk.

Some buildings near 10th and State Streets are still without full power.

We spoke to downtown business owners to learn more about their situations.

Business owners experienced emergency evacuations after power outages affected 800 customers in the area.

According to Penelec, there will be another power outage at 2 a.m. that will last until 2:20 a.m. in order to continue working on the area.

Mabel Howard, the Co-Owner of a Cafe 7-10 on 10th Street was about to close for the day when she heard a loud noise and felt the ground beneath her shake.

“A large fire starting coming out of the ground. It almost felt like you were in a movie and so we were like we got to get out of here,” said Mabel Howard, Co-Owner of Cafe 7-10.

Tuesday evening around 6 p.m. an underground fire happened at 10th and State Streets that caused power outages throughout downtown.

“There is a transformer down in that vault and there was a shot of some kind that generated a lot of heat and started some stuff on fire,” said Leonard Trott, Assistant Chief of Erie Fire Department.

According to Penelec, the Renaissance Center and a few other buildings near where the underground fire happened are experiencing partial power.

Luckily for Howard, business was able to continue as normal.

“We lost power somewhere throughout the night. As far as businesses we did not lose any business. We were able to open for all of our hours,” said Howard.

But not the same can be said for the owner of Stevo’s Pizza.

“We lost some money because we had to shut down and any business owner will understand that if you shutdown your business for at least five hours I’m not just talking about the day, you are losing a lot of money,” said Slava A, Owner of Stevo’s Pizza.

Business owners said that their main priority was the safety of their employees.

“We were happy to see that there was no one standing on the block at the same time,” said Howard.

“Basically our employees are like our families. So this is how my reaction was,” said Slava.

Assistant chief of the Erie Fire Department also said that this was not the first time something like this has happened.

According to the assistant chief years ago an electrical fire took place near the same location and this happens every few years.

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