Outage empties offices

A POWER transformer in the Rockhampton CBD burst into flames yesterday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of two businesses and cutting power to hundreds of others.

Firefighters donned breathing apparatus as thick black smoke billowed out of the transformer, located in Quay Lane between Derby and Stanley streets.

Thousands of people were affected when power went out to 233 businesses during a five-minute period about 1.30pm.

Employees of a nearby business said it was too hot to sit inside their offices and wait for air-conditioning to resume, as they watched firefighters assess the scene.

Ergon Energy Corporate Communications manager Bob Pleash said 14 customers in Quay Lane remained without power for a number of hours after the incident.

Generators had been quickly organised to assist while the repairs were undertaken.

"Emergency services and Ergon Energy crews responded quickly to bring the situation under control," Mr Pleash said after the event.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Services spokesman said fire crews had to wait until Ergon Energy personnel arrived at the scene before any firefighting could commence.

"Once they (Ergon Energy) were on scene, we used dry powder extinguishers and firefighting foam to extinguish the fire," he said.

He added that QRFS crews were at the scene for just under an hour.

The incident came after damaged power supply cables were believed to have caused a pole-top fire in south Rockhampton on Sunday night. This incident had resulted in 56 homes losing their power.

A QRFS spokesman described the Lavarack Street fire, during which three wires were burnt off, as "potentially dangerous".



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