Thousands of outages, schools closed after substation fire

- Only about 5,000 electric customers are starting Wednesday without power after fire crews fought huge flames at a North Philadelphia PECO substation. That’s compared to 36,000 customers with no electricity during and shortly after Tuesday’s fire.

FOX 29’s Steve Keeley reports PECO has been making great progress and lots of police officers remain at the scene. Most but not all area traffic lights are back on.

FOX 29’s Bob Kelly reports traffic is getting by, but could be moving slower in the neighborhood.

Two schools are closed because they don’t have power. One is Rhodes Middle School, which is just three blocks away. There's also Philadelphia High School for Girls, which is about four miles away and shows the substation supplies power to much of the city.

PECO says a cause has not been determined for the fire that began at the substation shortly before 2pm.

Steve reports firefighters couldn’t even put water on the flames until 5pm because the substation on W. Moreland Street is huge and everything had to be shut down to avoid electrocution.

At first, firefighters tried using foam on the flames, and after the station was de-energized began pouring water. The utility was also working to provide customers with power from another substation.

Much of the plastic and metal in the substation was melted and burned, but Steve reports there is no smell.

Also, no injuries were reported.

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