Early this afternoon according to Steve Zaccard, Fire Marshall for St. Paul Fire Department (SPFD), a transformer outside of St. Joseph’s Hospital exploded. The transformer belongs to Xcel Energy Center.
Zaccard said the transformer provided the hospital’s back-up energy source, but there was also a power outage in St. Paul. Zaccard notes that the surrounding offices and buildings, including The UpTake’s office, are still without power and there are reports that both the Capitol & State Office Building lost power as well.
It was reported to SPFD that there had been a fire on location and when they reached the hospital, they found the transformer in flames. Zaccard also said in a brief phone interview with The UpTake that the SPFD put out the fire with water hoses and there should be no smoke or fire damage.
The power outage impacted both street lights & fire alarms in the city. Zaccard says they are unsure what caused the fire.
Attempts to reach Xcel Energy have been unsuccessful, thus far.
Update: An email from Xcel Energy says:
“At 11:02 a.m. equipment that serves St. Joseph’s hospital failed, resulting in smoke and flames at that location. The outage lasted less than an hour and affected about 11,000 customers. The cause of the equipment failure is under investigation.”
We will post updates here as we get them.
An eyewitness explains what she saw happen.