Hydro out in downtown Toronto

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Parkdale transformer fire causes blackout

Toronto Hydro expects to have power restored by 6 p.m. By Jennifer Kwan Toronto Star Staff Reporter

The hallways inside Queen Victoria Public school were largely empty today after an underground hydro fire in Parkdale caused a blackout early this morning. Hydro crews are still working to restore power to the affected area. ''We had a whole literacy program planned today, but it had to be cancelled,'' the school's officer administrator Sheila Carmichael said this morning. ''There weren't enough students here.''

Of the school's 1,120 kindergaten to Grade 6 students, 200 braved the dark and showed up for class.

The fire has left thousands of area residents without power for more than 14 hours after flames broke out in a hydro vault at 120 Jameson Ave. near King St. in Parkdale at around 1:55 a.m.

Toronto Hydro spokesperson Paul Reesor said police from 11 Division and Toronto fire arrived on scene, and the fire was out by 3 a.m.

Hydro expects to restore power by 6 p.m. today. ''Our priority is to restore the power as quickly and safely as possible,'' Reesor said.

The area affected is bounded by Queen St. to the north, Tyndall Ave. to the east, Lakeshore to the south and Dowling Ave. to the west.

The exact cause of the outage is still under investigation, but Reesor said the fire destroyed one of two transformers in the cement vault and repair crews replaced a transformer that had been contaminated by the elements, a common cause of fires.

Reesor said there are roughly 52,000 transformers in the city, 2,600 of those are in network vaults the size of two double-door, steel garden sheds.

Over the past two years there have been about six network vault fires, Ressor said, and Toronto Hydro is currently increasing inspection rates and re-sealing vaults to keep the number of fires in future low.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 22, 2001

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