October 25, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 251

1,852 area customers affected by Thursday power outage

IRONWOOD — Much of the Gogebic Range experienced a four-hour power outage on Thursday afternoon.

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe
IRONWOOD PUBLIC Safety Department officers and volunteer firemen respond to a 3:30 p.m. Thursday report of a fire in an Xcel Energy substation building near Alfred Wright Boulevard.

The lights went out around 2:30 p.m. and residents along McLeod Avenue didn’t have electricity until 6:26 p.m., although services were restored earlier than that in other parts of the city. Some residences didn’t get power until 7:30 p.m., however.

A spokesman from Xcel Energy’s Eau Claire office said Thursday evening that the power outage affected 1,852 customers.

There were reports the outage extended to the Bergland area, but Hurley and Kimball had power, while Ironwood was out.

The Ironwood Public Safety Department responded to 3:30 p.m. Thursday report of a fire in a substation building across from the Xcel Energy offices on Douglas Boulevard.

The fire may have been related to the outage.

IPSD director Andrew DiGiorgio said the fire was out by the time most firefighters arrived. He said it was a small fire that had the smell of an electrical nature. He said the power outage didn’t affect all area communities because there are three service lines of power on the Gogebic Range.

While commerce carried on as usual in downtown Hurley, downtown Ironwood businesses were dark during the four-hour outage, but electricity was restored earlier along Cloverland Drive.

The public safety department and Grand View Hospital were operating on emergency generators, as was the Michigan State Police Post in Wakefield.

State police planned to pick up some patrol cars that had been in for service at the Lahti Chevrolet garage in downtown Ironwood from Frank Lahti, but that plan was postponed because the electric garage doors were out of commission, just one example of hardships created by the outage.

Luckily, the temperature had warmed up a bit, to around 40 by the afternoon, and the north wind had slacked off.

Watersmeet did not experience an outage, according to town officials.

“It could have been worse,” said Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher Deb Elsemored. She said the downtown Ironwood area was the last Gogebic Range location to have power restored.