Transformer fire leaves companies without power

Power expected back on Thursday morning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Power was expected to be restored to parts of the Brooklyn area Thursday morning after a transformer fire, according to JEA.

JEA's goal was to have power on at LPS and Fidelity by 8 a.m. and the YMCA at 10 a.m.  The EverBank building should have power by noon, according to JEA.

A fire from an underground transformer at 221 Riverside Ave. Wednesday morning left about 100 customers without power and affected downtown traffic lights.


JEA said it had to cut off six circuit lines after the fire started at about 9:40 a.m., which affected large customers including the Florida Times-Union, CSX, St. Joe Company, FIS, Haskell, Prime Osborn Convention Center, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Red Cross, YMCA, Five Points, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Building.

The outage was initially expected to last at least four hours, but will last until about 8 a.m. Thursday for 34 customers. As of about 5:30 p.m., power north of the Acosta Bridge was restored, as well as to the Times-Union building.

"We are going to have to replace approximately 250 feet of cable, so we will be working on that through the night," JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said. "We will have all available crews working on that. Our goal is to have service back on in the morning. But you just don't know what you are going to find during the night."

The fire was out at about 11:20 a.m.

The CSX building was evacuated as a precaution because the fire alarms were going off.


Traffic lights in some parts of downtown were also out as a result. The 200 block of Riverside Avenue, from Forest to Water streets, as well as the exit ramp from the Acosta Bridge onto Riverside was closed. Police said they were expected to be closed until at least 7 p.m.

Traffic lights at the following intersections were out: Water and Broad, Bay and Broad, Bay and Jefferson, Forsyth and Lee, Forsyth and Jefferson, Forsyth and Broad, Forsyth and Clay.

If you approach an intersection and the traffic lights are out, treat it as a four-way stop.

JEA said it would be bringing up three circuits that weren't damaged, one by one (damaged circuits pictured).


Many of the workers in the affected companies went to an early lunch, then went home after the power outages.

On its Facebook page, the Florida Times-Union posted, "Because of the continuing power outage in the Riverside Avenue area, Thursday's Times-Union will be considerably smaller. We expect full delivery at normal times of the newspaper."

Meanwhile, smaller businesses lost money by the minute.

"I don't know who's fault it is, but I need to be compensated. That's the bottom line," said John Varamogiana, who owns John's Deli in Riverside.

He said he likely lost hundreds of dollars Wednesday, and on top of that may have to throw his food away. He put his deli meats and salads on ice while the power was off, but that won't keep it fresh for long.

"Who's going to take care of this problem? Because it is a problem," Varamogiana said.

JEA said even though businesses lost money, it can't be held responsible, and it's spelled out in their service agreement.

"Anyone is welcome to file a claim, but service cannot be guaranteed 24 hours a day, seven days a week because things like this happen," Boyce said.