Nearly 20,000 north side residents lose power due to transformer fire

Posted at 10:16 PM, May 08, 2018

A fire at a We Energies substation on Center and 30th on Milwaukee’s north side left more than 19,000 customers without power for two hours Tuesday.

Neighbors report hearing an explosion around 5 p.m. The initial transformer fire only caused a power outage for a brief minute as the system moved people to the other transformer. 

It wasn’t until fire crews arrived to fight the fire that the power had to be shut off.

“We were more concerned about the energy level. There was 138,000 volts that were still active. That was our main concern, we wanted to make sure we could de-energize that power before we put our people in there in harm's way,” said Milwaukee Fire Battalion Chief James Hardy.

The secondary outage left lots of homes and business in the area without power. TODAY’S TMJ4 experienced a power loss and technical equipment issuesright at the start of LIVE at 5:00 due to the fire. Drivers in parts of the city were also caught off guard with flashing lights or no lights at all in some cases causing power outages. 

A We Energies spokesperson says the cause of the fire is unknown at this point.

“Now that the fire is out, they’ll be able to fully investigate… look at that equipment very closely and figure out what went wrong,” said Cathy Shulze.

Power was restored to everyone around 7 p.m.