Shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday, Phil Warnke, a Kwik Trip employee on the city’s south side was walking outside the store when the lights flickered irregularly.
“There was a flash, and everything went dark,” he said. “It was like musical lights.”
At 6:05 a.m., the New London Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at the Electric Substation located in the 600 block of East Douglas Street, approximately one block away from the Kwik Trip store where Warnke was working.
According to a press release issued by Captain Don Conat of the New London Fire Department Tuesday morning, “Firefighters found electrical equipment inside the substation in flames upon arrival.”
New London Utilities workers were also dispatched to the scene.
The substation was de-energized.
“New London Firefighters and utility workers were able to extinguish the fire with dry chemical extinguishers,” the press release said.
About a third of New London, mainly on the south and east side of the city lost power because of the fire.
ThedaCare Medical Center-New London reported its primary power was restored shortly before 8 a.m. Critical areas of the hospital maintained power from onsite emergency generators.
Power at Kwik Trip was restored and it re-opened around 8 a.m.
“As of right now, we don’t know exactly what caused the fire,” said Mike Frederick of New London Utilities. “There was a lot of heat and damage from the fire so it’s hard to say at this point, but it looks like it was something inside the sub. We’ll continue looking into the cause.”
Power was restored to most customers within a couple of hours.
“That’s the good thing about our system. We were able to switch things around and feed off some different sub stations and get everyone back online,” said Frederick.