Utility Pole Fire Cuts STT-STJ Power Two Hours Sunday Night

WAPA Line Supervisor Malvern Williams works on a pole in Subbase St. Thomas following a fire that destroyed circuits associated with two electrical feeders. The pole fire was the cause of a districtwide outage on Sunday. (Water and Power Authority image)

The Water and Power Authority reports electrical service was restored to all customers in the St. Thomas St. John district around 9 p.m. Sunday following a districtwide service interruption.

The outage resulted from a pole fire that destroyed circuits associated with two electrical feeders, 7A and 8A, and sent an electrical surge back to the Randolph Harley Power Plant causing generators to trip and go offline, according to WAPA officials.

The fire on the double circuit pole in Subbase, just south of Nisky Shopping Center and northwest of Gramboko Hill, tripped the two feeders at 6:52 p.m. Sunday and about 10 minutes later, the subsequent power surge began affecting the power plant.

According to WAPA, while power plant personnel restarted the generators and rebuilt production capacity, line department personnel worked on the field to isolate the burned pole, which eventually snapped and toppled over. The pole had to be isolated to reconfigure portions of the electric grid to make it possible to restore power to all customers on Feeders 7A and 8A Sunday night. Power started coming back on at 7:55 p.m.

A double-circuit pole snapped and toppled over Sunday night following a fire that destroyed equipment and contributed to a districtwide electrical service interruption. (Water and Power Authority image)

WAPA’s release says electric system crews will return to the site of the burned double circuit Monday to determine what factors may have contributed to the fire and begin the process of planting a new pole, replacing equipment and restoring the circuits of both feeders. Once completed, the electric grid will be returned to its normal configuration. The restoration work is not expected to affect electrical service to customers.

Firefighters from the V.I. Fire Services assisted WAPA in extinguishing the pole fire Sunday night.