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BREAKING: Explosion, fire at Madison substation knocks out power to thousands

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MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
Nearby residents watch an MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.
MGE substation fire and explosion July 19, 2019 in Madison.

UPDATE (WKOW) -- As of 10 p.m. Friday, MG&E reported no more outages.

After initially announced power had been restored around 4 p.m., officials said MG&E continued to experience intermittent power outages along the isthmus.

MG&E has crews on standby overnight. This was previously scheduled due to the forecasted extreme high temperatures.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- The City of Madison is clarifying an earlier statement and says power outages are not quite over yet.

During an afternoon news conference, MG&E and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced power had been restored to all customers, but later sent a news release saying they realize the outages are not over.

MG&E's website has fluctuated with the number of outages reported. To keep up with outage click here.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says power has been restored to everyone in Madison.

The Coliseum will be open overnight as a cooling center starting at 5 p.m.

The Mayor also said if the public needs transportation to The Coliseum, Metro will establish bus pick up spots and a schedule and post it on the city website, metro’s website and city social media.


Video from the moment the substation exploded.

UPDATE (WKOW) -- MG&E says it has now begun the process of restoring power to thousands affected by outages.

Crews are working as quickly as possible to get everyone back online.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Thousands of people still don't have power after two fires at MG&E/ATC substations Friday morning.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says many people may have to find a place to stay if outages continue into the night and overnight. There are cooling centers open, including the Kohl Center until 6:00 p.m. MG&E says it's unsure of how long outages could last.

All critical services, like police and fire, have back-up locations they're operating out of.

MG&E CEO Jeff Keebler says there were no injuries from the fires. No one was working in the area of the substation when the explosion happened. Damage assessments are underway.

Keebler says the two substations that had fires are connected. They share a transmission and they believe one thing led to the other. They're not sure which fire happened first.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says the jail is running on back-up generators right now.

Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis says 40 firefighters responded to the scene and it took them about 30 minutes to shut down the system and put the fire out. Firefighters are working with MG&E and ATC to determine a cause.

Some city wells have been impacted because of low water pressure as well.

Governor Tony Evers is monitoring the situation as well.

The outage is impacting government websites across the state.


UPDATE (WKOW) --  MG&E has released more information about what happened Friday morning in downtown Madison.

The fire was at a substation containing MG&E and American Transmission Company equipment. ATC says the fire was at the Blount Street substation, near East Main Street and S. Livingston Street.

The fire is now out and a damage assessment will get underway soon. MG&E believes the fire was due to a mechanical issue.

There are still power outages that extend from the west side of downtown's Capitol Square to areas around the Yahara River. MG&E isn't able to give a time yet on when power will be restored.

MG&E is working with its partners at ATC and the Madison Fire Department to investigate the cause. They're asking people to avoid the area of East Washington Ave., East Main Street, South Livingston and South Blount Street.

ATC is calling the Blount Street substation incident an "explosion and fire." They say it caused a transformer to fail.

There was also a fire at the East Campus substation near the Kohl Center, and that fire has also been contained. The cause of the East Campus fire isn't known yet.

UPDATE (WKOW) -- A second fire at the MG&E East Campus Substation near the Kohl Center is out.

UPDATE (WKOW) -- The Madison Fire Department says the fire on East Main Street near S. Livingston Street has been knocked down.

There are no reports of injuries as of 9:00 a.m.

Madison police are reporting a second smoke plume reporter near N. Park Street. There are also traffic lights out throughout much of downtown, which is causing some major backups.

The Madison Police Department is asking people who don't need to be downtown to stay out of the area.

City Hall momentarily lost power, but the power is back on. There are reports from witnesses the Capitol lost power and was evacuated.

(Original Story) MADISON (WKOW) -- Crews are responding to a large fire at Madison Gas and Electric substation.

MG&E spokesperson Steve Schultz told 27 News that a fire broke out at a substation near E. Main Street across  from Blount Generating Center around 7 a.m. Friday morning. He says they're working to "de-energize" the substation.

Right now, MG&E is reporting about 13,000 customers without power on and near the Isthmus.

Madison Police are shutting down traffic in a two block radius around the substation. They're also blocking traffic a fire near North Park Street.

In a Facebook post, UW-Madison Police say there is a separate fire south of Ogg Hall and near the Kohl Center. They are asking everyone to avoid the area and to evacuate immediately.

27 News has a crew heading to the scene.

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