| BOSTON, March 14
BOSTON, March 14 Thousands remained
without power in Boston on Wednesday morning after a transformer
fire caused a massive blackout on Tuesday night, forcing
tourists and Bostonians to flee onto eerily darkened streets
beneath thick black smoke.
The three-alarm fire in Boston's congested Back
Bay neighborhood cut power to hundreds of residences, businesses
and hotels, disrupted public transport and briefly prompted
authorities to urge residents to stay indoors because of fears
of toxic fumes.
Power was restored to about 10,000 customers overnight, with
another 11,000 still in the dark, according to NSTAR,
the electric utility.
NSTAR expects full restoration to take into the evening
hours. The utility was relying on generators brought in from
across New England and New York.
"Our focus right now is getting customers back online," said
NSTAR spokesman Michael Durand. "When that's complete, then
we'll turn our focus to the cause."
Firefighters on Tuesday evening responded to a
fire in a 115,000-volt transformer at an NSTAR substation in a
garage close to the Back Bay Hilton, a recently renovated
The densely populated, upscale neighborhood affected by the
fire is usually crowded with locals, business travelers and
tourists at shops, bars and restaurants on Newbury and Boylston
Many were out on the streets enjoying unusually mild March
weather when the fire broke out.
The Boston fire department cut power to the area as a
precaution, plunging the distinctive Back Bay skyline, including
the 60-story John Hancock Tower, the city's tallest building,
"Thick, black, acrid smoke" poured from the scene of the
fire, said fire department spokesman Steve McDonald.
Power outages spread from the Back Bay to the adjacent
Theater District, Chinatown, Kenmore Square and the South End.
City officials urged people to take public transit early
Wednesday and seek alternate routes around the Back Bay area.
Dozens of intersections remained without traffic lights.
Cleanup "has been non-stop since midnight," the fire