ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. -- A widespread power outage caused a number of electrical fires in Ellwood City Tuesday, including one at Lincoln High School.
Pennsylvania Power Co. spokesman Randy Coleman said the outage started near Fombell in northeastern Beaver County when a line connector on a transmission line failed, taking out several regional substations as well around 5:30 p.m.
The outage affected 54,000 customers from southern Lawrence County south into Allegheny County.
The loss of service included nearly 3,500 customers in Ellwood City, and city firefighters said the outage caused some electrical problems at Lincoln High School and several businesses.
Around 5:50 p.m., they were called to the school, where the outage caused an electrical motor in the air-handling system to fail and catch fire. The fire was confined to the equipment room, but there was some smoke in the building and a night class was evacuated as a precaution, firefighters said.
Fire crews also responded to ESB Bank, McDonald's and the 7-Eleven and Uni-Mart convenience stores on similar calls but reported no structural damage.