Electrical Fire Knocks Out Power in Downtown Vancouver
We welcome more information about the power outage which struck downtown Vancouver Monday morning. Please add your footage and comments below.
UPDATE 6:55 PST:
About 1,500 customers are still without power, down from 4,500 this afternoon at the peak of the blackout. Police are still encouraging motorists to avoid the downtown area.
The BC Hydro website gives 11 p.m., July 15 as an estimate for power restoration.
The 5 and 6 downtown bus routes appear to be the most impacted by the blackout. SkyTrain and SeaBus service is still operational.
UPDATE 5:15 PST:
Power is still out, and crews are waiting until air quality at the site of this morning's explosion improves before moving in and assessing damage.
Hundreds of Internet servers went down at the Harbour Centre, causing disruptions for companies far beyond Vancouver. To read more about the impact of the blackout, check out this related article.
UPDATE 3:00 PST:
Firefighters say the vault where the explosion occurred is still dangerous due to poor air quality, so restoring power will likely take much longer than originally anticipated. It may be several hours before hydro crews can even assess the damage, let alone fix it.
The explosion took place in an underground vault beneath the 500-block of Richards Street.
Deputy Chief Tom McEwen said at 2 p.m. today that officials recently took an air sample underground where the fire occurred and concluded the air quality is still not sufficient for Hydro crews -- even with respirators -- to go inside.
That means it could be a long time before power is restored to the many office buildings
"This could go until tomorrow," said McEwen. "I wouldn't rule that out."
UPDATE 2:15 PST:
A circuit fire has caused severe power outages in Vancouver's downtown business core, leaving more than 4,500 without power.
Street lights are down, shops have closed, and some are reportedly trapped in elevators in buildings without power. Police say the power outage affects the area between Beatty and Burrard, from Hastings to Robson.
Traffic officers have been dispatched to keep the situation under control, and the Marble Arch Hotel has been evacuated, according to local news sources.
Many stores in the Granville Street commercial area have closed, but some are using flashlights.
BC Hydro estimates that power should be restored by 3:00 p.m. The Vancouver Police strongly suggest people stay away from the downtown core.
According to local news:
* Waterfront Station was evacuated, but SkyTrain and SeaBus still operational
* Downtown bus service delayed due to necessary reroutes
* City traffic gridlocked due to traffic light outages
* West Coast Express will likely be affected if power remains out
Rachel Nixon filed this voice report:
"This is Rachel Nixon. I'm calling on behalf of the NowPublic team about the Vancouver fires. It's Monday, the 14th of July. As previously reported on NowPublic there are severe power outages in Downtown Vancouver because of electrical fires. The BC Hydro website is talking about more than 1,000 clients affected around the Waterfront area of Vancouver, in Gastown and also the Seymour Street area. I went down the street and saw smoke billowing from one hole on Richards Street where police had cordoned it off and were re-directing traffic. BC Hydro says it could be a few hours before the power comes back on. This is Rachel Nixon reporting for NowPublic."