Transformer Damaged by Fire Blamed for Windstream’s Weekend Outage

LINCOLN–(KFOR Sept. 5)–Windstream announced that  911 service in the four Nebraska counties impacted by Saturday’s evening’s outage was restored on Sunday.

Windstream telephone lines at 911 centers across southeast Nebraska including Lancaster County were down following a Windstream outage Saturday evening. Windstream officials say a fire late Friday night at the company’s central office near 14th and “M” streets damaged a transformer. A backup generator failed at around 6:30 pm Saturday caused communication centers to be shut down until power was restored.

Regarding the fire, Lincoln Fire and Rescue on Tuesday said the call was originally dispatched as a fire alarm.   Crews found an alert on the panel showed the alarm was in  the electrical control room, indicating a high voltage warning. When the crew opened the door, heavy black smoke poured out of the door and flames were seen near the floor.

Fire crews used dry chemical and CO2 extinguishers to quickly knock down the fire from an office chair.  Damage to the electrical panels had spread and LES was called to evaluate the condition of the electrical panels.

The fire inspector later found water had leaked into the room onto the switches which caused a small explosion inside the room that ignited the combustibles. Loss estimates were $200,000. No injuries were reported.