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PECO substation fire caused lengthy power loss for many homes, businesses

At one point, roughly 35,000 PECO customers lost electric power.
Philadelphia firefighters had to wait for electric power to be turned off at the subsGetty Images

Hundreds of home and businesses continued to be without electric power Wednesday morning as a result of the massive fire at a utility company substation in North Philadelphia.

PECO crews worked to reroute power to thousands of customers after Wednesday’s fire at the substation on the 2600 block of West Westmoreland Street.

The fire started just after 2 p.m. and three hours later power was turned off at the substation. Firefighters were unable to get inside the facility while the power was on.

An estimated 36,000 PECO customers, including two school buildings, were affected by the outage, authorities said. The power loss also darkened traffic signals in the area. Gas generators were being used at some intersections to operate the signal lights.

One apartment building in the vicinity of the substation was evacuated during the blaze as a precaution because of concerns about toxic smoke.

At Temple University, power loss was reported at the university hospital and Temple Towers, a dormitory that houses about 600 students. Power was restored late Tuesday.

No one was injured during the fire.

School officials closed Philadelphia High School for Girls and E.W. Rhodes Middle School because of the power outage. All athletic programs and after-school activities scheduled for Wednesday were canceled.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, officials told local news reporters.

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