Saturday, January 27, 2007

I Thought it Was Just a Mirage, but...

Early this past afternoon I sat down to lunch with my wife and daughter in Brewer's Alley when the lights shut off for approximately ten seconds. I thought nothing of this incident until my wife noticed a number of emergency vehicles on North Market Street between Second and Third Streets. We decided to investigate.

Frederick's finest had closed off traffic north of Second Street and roped off the north half of the 200 block of North Market due to a transformer explosion in front of The Mirage restaurant at the corners of North Market and Third Street.

At approximately 1:10 PM today the transformer combusted, according to eye and aural-witnesses, making a loud popping sound heard in businesses as far as a block and a half away, and briefly sent a spume of flame as high as the building housing the popular Middle-Eastern restaurant and hooka bar. According to Frederick police no one was injured, and there was no significant damage visible to the facade of The Mirage beyond the scorching of the paint and brick. All the restaurant's windows were intact.

Eric Krassner, owner of Frederick's popular CineGraphics Studios, is one of those that heard the explosion from his business over a block from the incident. "I heard a pop and the lights went out," said Krassner. The lights came back on in short order in Krassner's shop.

Businesses and residences between 210 and 316 North Market Street appeared to be without power. While buildings north of that point had power, traffic lights on North Market all the way to Seventh Street and most of North Bentz Street were out.

"I was out," walking my dog, said Michael Harrison, proprietor of Cafe Anglais across the street from The Mirage. Harrison, who sat watching the spectacle from the front steps of the building which houses his business and who lives in the affected area said, "I guess I'm staying with the in-laws tonight."

As of 3:00 PM Allegheny Power crews still were not on the scene, and no estimation for a return of power was available for the affected region.