Electrical substation in Ephrata explodes, knocking out power to thousands

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

EPHRATA, Wash.  — An electrical substation exploded in the town of Ephrata Wednesday night, knocking out power to thousands of Grant County Public Utility District customers.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook Wednesday evening that a Grant County PUD substation caught fire in Ephrata at about 7 p.m.

KREM-TV reports (https://goo.gl/aWR4Si ) a fault in the power line called an arc flash caused an explosion.

Utility officials said the cause of the outage was equipment failure in the Central Ephrata Substation and that customers there would be without power for several hours.

The sheriff’s office said no injuries were reported.

The sheriff's office issued this statement late Wednesday night:

"A power substation fire in Ephrata around 7 p.m. tonight caused a wide power outage impacting the greater Ephrata area and causing a structure fire which damaged a Grant PUD building. Nobody was injured. This incident is under control and there is no further risk to the public.

"The substation had two major fire incidents which lit up the evening sky for about 30 seconds on two occasions. The fires burned in the distribution yard at Nat Washington Way and A Street Southeast in downtown Ephrata. A Grant PUD maintenance building also caught fire. Firefighters from the City of Ephrata and Grant County Fire District 13 saved a majority of the building.

"There were reports of other powers lines down and Grant PUD crews responded to fix those lines.

"Power is still out through much of the downtown Ephrata area. Power will be out for many hours. There is no estimate for when it will be restored."