Power was being restored to part of downtown Minneapolis after nearly 500 customers lost electricity Tuesday morning following fire in an underground electric vault, a utility official said.
Several blocks surrounding 4th Street and 2nd Avenue S. lost power at about 8:10 a.m., said Xcel Energy spokesman Tom Hoen.
Macy's and the Central Library were among those buildings without electricity. All told, about one-third of downtown was without power at one point. Commuters arrived for work and limped through intersections with the help of traffic agents because of darkened traffic signals.
While power has been restored to most of the affected area, some buildings might remain without power until their managers reset their individual electrical systems. Crews were expected to continue making repairs at the vault until early Thursday evening.
A cable failure led to the fire, Xcel Energy said. Workers "de-energized" a portion of the electrical system for the safety of the public, as well as for crew members assigned to assess damage and make repairs.
Elsewhere on the west side of the metro area, stormy weather defore and afte dawn was suspected of leaving nearly 3,000 customers without power, Hoen said. Those areas included Brooklyn Center, Plymouth and St. Louis Park.
Hoen said that lightning strikes and a branch bringing down a wire were to blame.
Paul Walsh 612-673-4482