At approximately 2:30pm on Tuesday afternoon, a transformer located at the southern end of Lafayette Street near the Riverwalk caught fire and was destroyed. More than a dozen firefighters from the Lowell Area Fire Department were quick to respond and put out the blaze. However, the loss of the transformer meant many residents on the east side of town spent around seven hours without power on this year’s first 90 degree day.
While the power outage was inconvenient, nearby residents noted on social media that Lowell Light & Power workers were quick to respond, arriving with equipment to replace the transformer while firefighters were still working to cool the site of the blaze. Although power remained out until 9:30pm for many residents, utility workers were able to restore electricity to some homes within an hour.
Residents reported hearing a loud explosive at the time the fire started, and Fire Chief Ron van Overbeek says the department is waiting on lab results to determine what sparked the blaze. The garage of a neighboring house sustained some damage but fortunately, there were no injuries.
“We had a great line of communication with the power company which was critical for everyone’s safety,” van Overbeek says.
The Lowell High School crew club had shells (boats) stored near the transformer and those were destroyed in the fire as well. Athletic Director Dee Crowley says the shells were insured, and the insurance company has already been contacted about the process of opening a claim.
An email to Lowell Light & Power was not returned prior to publication. If additional information becomes available, this article will be updated.
The following video of the blaze was provided to Lowell’s First Look from a neighboring resident.