Power restored after Fort Lauderdale FPL substation erupts in flames

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Power has been restored after a fire at a Fort Lauderdale Florida Power and Light substation left thousands without power.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the Sistrunk substation along the 400 block of Northwest Sixth Street, around 8 p.m., Tuesday.

Fort Lauderdale Police confirmed the fire started because of a lightning strike.

Neighbors said they heard loud explosions before the power went out for a second, then the lights flickered and then the power went out again.

“Very loud explosions. I was over on Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street. The flames were so huge. They were going … I don’t know how high,” witness Shawn Williams said. “So scary, and the explosions were so loud. I threw my car into reverse to get away. I could feel the heat, and I thought it was going to overtake me. It was unbelievable. Over an hour, but we’ve seen like four explosions. Each one was larger than the next. They were almost right after each other, but then the flame would go up, and it was just massive. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said officials sent out a helicopter to survey some of the outages.

Trantalis said, “It’s just for people to stay out of this area as much as possible. If you need to travel normally through this area, please find an alternative route. The signals are working partially here on Sistrunk [Boulevard] and also on Andrews [Avenue] and U.S. 1. Broward [Boulevard], Sunrise Boulevard, try to stay off those streets. We are trying to restore power as soon as possible, but it’s best not to be traveling tonight.”

At 9:45 p.m., FPL said approximately 22,000 customers were without power because of the fire.

FLFR crews put the fire under control late in the night, and power was restored at around 4 a.m.

“Luckily, FPL has been successful in restoring power little by little incrementally,” Trantalis said. “We have a helicopter flying overhead to give us a real-time estimate as to what areas are being restored.”

Fort Lauderdale Police said there was at least one business burglarized during the outage.

Two subjects reportedly stole a pair of dirt bikes from a shop in the area of Northwest 10th Avenue and West Sunrise Boulevard just after 1 a.m., Wednesday.

The outage cancelled a scheduled performance of “Dear Evan Hansen” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Tuesday night.

No injuries were reported.

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