Power outage leaves downtown Burlington, UVM in the dark - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Power outage leaves downtown Burlington, UVM in the dark

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"We're kind of hanging out waiting," said Rob Hunter of Frog Hollow.

Frog Hollow on Burlington's Church Street is filled with beautiful Vermont arts and crafts. You just couldn't really see them Thursday morning.

"Can't really open up because we have so many fragile things," Hunter said. "And the gallery is a little dark in the back."

Just a bit before 10 a.m., the lights went out here and in several other parts of the city.

"We had a major outage in the Hill Section down through the downtown area. A little over 460 customers were involved," said Mary Sullivan of the Burlington Electric Department.

Burlington Electric crews scrambled to find the problem. And it wasn't easy because it was underground.

"It's more difficult to find them. They're rarer than they are on the overhead, but when it happens it just takes longer to pinpoint the problem," Sullivan said.

They eventually narrowed it down, locating the problem: a broken line knocked out power. We spotted smoke coming out of a utility manhole just off Main Street.

"It could have just been, you know, cable fatigue, age of the cable. They didn't think it was anything particularly unusual," Sullivan explained.

But it was an unusual day at work for the folks at Monelle on the Marketplace.

"Yeah, it's just a shame because, you know, it's just after the holidays and getting ready for the spring/summer thing, so it would be nice to have some people in. But unfortunately power outages mean no credit card machines, no register and obviously it's a little chilly in here, too," said Regan Torney of Monelle.

So, the outage put a freeze on sales for a couple of hours at some of those downtown shops.

"We're trying to set up a show, but that's been delayed a little bit, as well," Hunter said.

"You know, a pretty good inconvenience for a lot of people in that downtown section of the city," Sullivan said. "So, we really apologize for any inconvenience it caused, but our crews did get on it as fast as possible."

Locating the problem line underground is more challenging for crews. But Burlington Electric says the benefit of underground lines is that outages happen less frequently.

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