Power equipment malfunction on NCCU’s campus results in small fire, power outage

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A small fire next to a telephone pole in Durham was the result an equipment failure that knocked out power to 360 Duke Energy customers on Tuesday morning, officials said.

Durham fire crews responded to 705 E. Lawson St., on North Carolina Central University’s campus, at 12:21 a.m. in reference to a reported transformer fire.

Once on scene, crews found a small grass fire next to a telephone pole there, as well as “a large amount of oil on the ground and covering two cars,” fire officials said.

An NCCU police officer told firefighters on scene that they witnessed the transformer explode. The pole was still smoldering from the explosion.

Duke Energy told CBS 17 that there was not a transformer malfunction or fire and that the issue was with the regulator, which regulates power.

The fire department notified power crews of the issue and had them come to the scene to assist and make sure that the power to the pole was off so that the fire could safely be extinguished.

Fire officials said that firefighters used “speedy dry to make a dam to contain the oil, preventing any from entering the storm drain.”

Fire units cleared from the scene at 1:50 a.m.

Power was restored within a few hours, Duke Energy officials said. They’re not sure at this time what caused the regulator to malfunction.

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