October 7, 2002

Transformer Explodes On Ithaca Commons

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Festivities at the annual Apple Harvest Festival continued with little interruption yesterday despite a power outage that left the First National Bank building and several local businesses without power for the day.

According to Gary Ferguson of the Ithaca Downtown partnership, an explosion that took place underneath the sidewalk on the Ithaca Commons between 7 and 7:30 a.m. yesterday was responsible for the outage.

The transformer is located underneath a section of the Commons known as “Bank Alley,” between the M&T Bank building and the First National Bank Building.

“Flames shot up from underneath the sidewalk and killed the transformer,” said Ferguson.

By approximately 10 a.m., workers from NYSEG had brought in generators so that the food vendors and live entertainment could continue.

Though foot traffic was affected, Ferguson said that the event continued smoothly.

“By the time the festival really got going around noon, most of the visitors didn’t have any idea of the problem.”

As late as yesterday evening, Barbara Rock, supervisor of technical operations at NYSEG was still at work on the Commons with a crew of approximately eight NYSEG employees.

“We still don’t know what exactly happened,” said Rock.

Archived article by Nate Brown