Posted on Friday, Jul. 19, 2019 at 3:23 pm
I wanted to update you on today’s power outage, on the hottest day of the year so far.
Fire units were called at 7:40 a.m.. after reports of an explosion and fire at the MG&E substation at 722 E. Main St., which sent a dark plume of smoke into the air.
Another related fire broke out at a substation closer to University of Wisconsin, at East Campus Mall, sending another plume into the air and prompting the evacuation of a number of buildings. Both fires were knocked down by Madison firefighters in short order. Police were rapidly deployed to direct traffic at all major intersections and provide extra patrols in the areas impacted by the outage, and traffic engineering deployed generators to power critical traffic signals.
Power was out for 12,000 in the downtown area prompting evacuations of buildings and a State of Emergency declaration from Governor Evers. We wanted to let you know as the assessment continues that there is every reason to believe that the fires were due to mechanical failure.
Emergency Operations Centers were set up for the City and County, as we assessed structural issues including traffic signal outages, emergency cooling centers, water reliability, shelter needs for seniors, the homeless and other vulnerable individuals. The City’s Emergency Operations Center included leaders from at least 13 different departments, including staff from Dane County and the University.
The Madison Senior Center never lost power, all libraries remained open, including the downtown library which welcomed about 60 people from the Beacon. Fromagination sent sandwiches to the library to assist. The Water Utility’s Water Wagon was posted to the top of State Street and saw brisk business.
MG&E and County Executive Joe Parisi kept in close contact and participated in our press conference at 11:00 a.m. The Kohl Center downtown is available as a cooling location until 6:00 p.m. tonight. We are continuing to work on plans for overnight cooling and shelter for vulnerable populations. Stay tuned.
Another press conference is planned for 4:00 p.m. today. Please promote our city website where updates are being posted https://www.cityofmadison.com/live-work/power-outage and the primary Twitter account is @CityofMadison.
Power is being restored slowly, but we are not yet out of the woods. We will maintain an Emergency Command Center for as long is needed. I want to extend my thanks for the fast action by our city staff across multiple departments who continue to urgently work on this issue.