Transformer Explosion Cuts Power and Closes Roads

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
March 9, 2016

A truck attempting to park on Ellison Street hit a support wire for an electrical transformer Tuesday afternoon, causing a chain reaction that cut power to nearly 50 homes and businesses for an extended period.

The power outage briefly shut down the traffic light at Broad and West streets, and forced the closure of Ellison and Patterson streets as crews from Dominion Power brought in multiple equipment trucks to replace or repair the damaged transformers.

The episode began around 2:30 pm Tuesday. When the truck hit the support wire, which was secured into the concrete sidewalk, the transformer it was holding exploded with a thundering noise, and the top several feet of it broke off but did not fall. That may have been fortunate, because an electrical repair worker told the Times that it contains 20,000 volts, a very dangerous amount of power.

However, the toppling of that transformer damaged several others on the street, and the one at the corner of Ellison and West streets rained pieces of wood on a car that was driving by. The driver was not injured.

Police quickly cordoned off the streets and City crews reactivated the Broad and West intersection with a generator. Dominion crews came and replaced the one broken transformer with a brand new pole, cut off the broken top of the other one, and placed new fiberglass arms on the tops of at least two others.

The top of the damaged pole, left, has been cut away, and the new pole, right has been installed.

The top of the damaged pole, left, has been cut away, and the new pole, right has been installed.

Power was restored at about 11:45 pm. It’s not clear if the truck driver who damaged the transformer will face any charges or damage claims.

March 9, 2016 


Feel free to leave a comment. Please increase the credibility of your post by including your FULL NAME and CITY. All comments are subject to editing for courtesy and content.