Oak Ridge Electric Department crews worked to restore electricity to Frank Callaghan Towers on Fairbanks Road after an early morning power failure on Friday.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department responded to the report of a fire alarm at Callaghan Towers on 115 Fairbanks Road at approximately 3:31 a.m. on Friday, September 18. When they arrived, ORFD firefighters investigated and found the elevator mechanical room was filled with smoke. ORFD entered into the room using a thermal imaging camera and found elevator motor number one to be smoking and elevator motor number two to be overheating, a press release said.
Firefighters disconnected power to the elevators and set up exhaust fans in the outside doorways to clear the building of smoke. Residents from the first floor were evacuated from the building until the building was cleared of smoke. Residents on floors two through six were sheltered in place in their rooms during the event.
After further investigation, ORFD found the emergency generator for the building to be running and many of the apartments did not have power in all rooms, the press release said. The Oak Ridge Electric Department arrived on the scene and discovered a transformer located approximately one block away from the address had blown one of the three phase conductors, which resulted in partial power failure to the building and overheated the elevator motors.
There were no injuries during the event. ORFD and ORED worked together to secure the building. The press release said the power should be restored to the facility by approximately 5 p.m. Friday
Frank Callaghan Towers has about 110 one-bedroom apartments and all are occupied, said Rossy Williams, who represents the corporate owner, Oak Ridge Towers LTD.
The company offered to transfer residents who wanted to be transferred during the power outage, but no one wanted to, Williams said.
Frank Callaghan Towers is a government Section 8 facility for elderly and disabled residents.
The Friday outage meant the elevators weren’t working, although a temporary backup generator provided power to every other light in the hallways and stairs, Williams said. But there was no power in the units.
Red Cross helped with lunches.
“They came ‘lickety-split,'” Williams said. “We appreciate them very much.”
Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said residents’ home oxygen stopped worked during the outage, so they had to switch to bottled manual oxygen. But some started running out of oxygen, so the Fire Department was bringing more oxygen bottles, he said.
Early Friday afternoon, the Oak Ridge Electric Department, which responded at 4 a.m., laid temporary lines on the ground to restore power. Workers planned to bury electrical lines later. Crews worked on about 700 feet of electrical lines along Fairbanks Road. There was no alternate power source to feed Callaghan Towers.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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