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Power outage affects traffic lights, schools

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Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:00 pm

By Anthony Scott

Killeen Daily Herald

Drivers were left fending for themselves at multiple intersections Monday when traffic lights went out after a power line caught fire along Trimmier Road in Killeen.

City of Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine said multiple traffic lights were affected, including those at the intersections of Jasper and Trimmier roads at Central Texas Expressway. Other intersections included Lowes Boulevard at Trimmier Road and where W.S. Young Drive connects with the Killeen Mall parking lot.

Killeen Police Cmdr. Margaret Young said the power line to blame was along the 2100 block of Trimmier Road.

At about noon, homes, businesses and two schools in the area lost power.

Killeen Independent School District spokeswoman Leslie Gilmore said Clifton Park Elementary and Nolan Middle School lost power, but school continued.

"All students had completed lunch by the time the schools experienced the power outage," Gilmore said. "Nolan Middle School kept the students in their sixth-period class to alleviate moving around in the hallways."

Crews from the city of Killeen placed temporary stop signs to control traffic while work crews from Oncor Electricity made repairs.

Karl K. Green, Oncor area manager, said the outage was caused by equipment failure. A capacitor, a device for storing electric charge, broke because of the wind blowing tree limbs into the line.

James Bay, an engineering technician with Walker Partners LLC, was across the street during the blowout and said he heard a buzzing noise and saw a subsequent fireball when the transformer blew. His office was left without power, grinding operations to a halt.

"It looked like someone had thrown a torch," Bay said. "It was a blue, bright light and every once in awhile it would shoot a flame out."

The power was restored after nearly four hours, Green said.

Contact Anthony Scott at ascott@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.

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