FL - Power Outage Hits Clearwater

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Power Outage Hits Downtown


) St. Petersburg Times, published July 27, 2000

CLEARWATER -- At the beginning of the lunch hour Wednesday, downtown Clearwater was in the dark.

Computers went down. Police officers directed traffic under dim signals and restaurants scrambled to keep their customers cool.

A problem in an underground cable caused a power outage for 1,400 customers in downtown Clearwater and south Clearwater Beach from 11:35 a.m. until 12:10 p.m., said Florida Power spokeswoman Mary Estes.

Workers restored electricity by rerouting the power but had not determined the cause of the problem, Estes said.

Clearwater police and fire department offices downtown lost power, but operations were uninterrupted because of backup generators.

"We didn't miss a beat," said Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor.

"It gave our city information technology people a little work to do resetting some computers," said Clearwater Deputy fire Chief Charlie Flower.

At Angie's Restaurant on Cleveland Street, the cooking continued, but the restaurant quickly got toasty as the gas stove fired up lunch.

Gus Zarbus, a regular, wasn't fazed.

"It's warm outside, too," he said.

The restaurant went about its business. In fact, Shannon Brodersen, a hostess at Angie's, was more worried about what was happening outside. "Everybody thought there was going to be an accident out there" because of the lack of traffic signals, she said.

Police officers stood in the midday sun directing traffic at intersections on Cleveland and Myrtle streets. Officials said there were no accidents.

Tuesday night there was an unrelated one-hour power outage on south Clearwater Beach and downtown, Estes said.

Gregory Amato, manager of Caesar's & Son Pizza, tried to wait out Tuesday's 10:15 p.m. power outage, but he closed the pizzeria an hour early.

He returned Wednesday morning and found 50 pounds of dough -- enough to make 60 pies -- oozing out of a refrigerator.

"The dough actually pushed the door open," he said. "Like the Blob, it crawled out of the door."


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), July 27, 2000

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