An underground fire in Hartford early Sunday morning knocked out power to thousands in West Hartford as well as Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
The heart of West Hartford Center was a ghost town on Sunday, and not just because most stores were closed for the Easter holiday.
An underground fire in Hartford early Sunday morning initially impacted about 13,000 Eversource customers in Hartford and West Hartford. That number steadily decreased throughout the day Sunday as power was restored, but despite initial estimates of service restoration by mid-day, a large swath of West Hartford Center still had no service by nightfall.
Late Sunday afternoon, 489 customers remained without electricity and Eversource spokesperson Gerry DeSimas estimated that power would be completely restored by 7 p.m.
At 8:45 p.m., there were 490 without power and an estimated restoration time of 9 p.m.
Just before 9 p.m., Eversource’s outage map showed that the number of customers without power had jumped to 3,823, upsetting many residents who were just settling in to watch the UConn women’s basketball team play in the Final Four.
“They are making final repairs now. The crews are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible,” DeSimas said. “It’s not uncommon in a restoration situation for the numbers to fluctuate as they are bringing people back online,” he said.
DeSimas said he was not aware of anything new that impacted the number of customers affected by the outage.
Many West Hartford Center restaurants had to shut their doors and cancel hundreds of reservations for Easter brunches and dinners. Treva, A’vert Brasserie, Elbow Room, Grants, and Max’s Oyster Bar were among those that had locked doors and handwritten signs apologizing to customers.
DeSimas said that the outage was caused by the underground fire in Hartford, and that once crews began to work on the problem, initial estimates of how long it would take were increased.
According to NBC Connecticut, Hartford firefighters responded to a report of smoke coming out of a manhole at the 400 block of Farmington Avenue near the Sherman Street intersection at about 12:10 a.m. Sunday.