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Power failure hits city


ATTLEBORO -- Electric power to about three-quarters of the city was knocked out Saturday night, sending police and firefighters scrambling.

The power failure occurred about 7:30 p.m. because of a malfunction at the Massachusetts Electric substation on Read Street, police said. Power was fully restored by 9:30 p.m.

Calls to the Massachusetts Electric media center were not returned.

Police said they did not know the cause of the failure, but power was knocked out in much of South Attleboro, along lower County Street and along Route 123. The lights came back on in stages.

Neighboring communities were not affected.

In Attleboro, police and fire departments were deluged with calls.

Police dispatched cruisers to major South Attleboro intersections because traffic signals were not operational.

`` The cruisers are stationed with their lights on, but the officers aren't on the street because it's too dangerous,'' police Sgt. Richard Wade said.

Firefighters responded to numerous false box alarms triggered by the outage.

A fire crew was dispatched to the Memphis Roadhouse barbecue and steak restaurant to ventilate the building when exhaust fans went out. The restaurant cooks on wood-fired grills.

Police dispatchers took hundreds of calls from city residents.

`` It is a problem,'' Wade said. `` We've received easily 300 to 500 calls. That's hard to handle on top of everything else.''

Wade recommended people notify the utility in the future.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 20, 2001

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