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Video: Fires, explosions at substation knock out power in three Eastern Wash. cities

EPHRATA, Wash. - Multiple fires and explosions at a substation knocked out power to thousands of residents in Ephrata, Quincy and Soap Lake Wednesday night, according to the Grant County Public Utilities District.

The Grant County Sheriff said a fire broke out at the substation in downtown Ephrata about 7:00 p.m.

Videos posted to social media show huge flames from the substation shooting into the air along with flashes that lit up the sky, before the city went dark.

VIDEO WARNING: Please be advised, this video contains some profanity:

"I will never forget the sound," said Ephrata resident Susan Smith. "I thought an airplane was landing on us!"

VIDEO WARNING: Please be advised, this video contains some profanity:

Officials said no one was hurt in the fires or explosions.

"It was super crazy the sound, the sky flashing, sparks, fire and explosions," said Smith. "My neighbors and I all outside trying to figure out what was happening. One neighbor climbed on his roof and seen the substation and building on fire!"

VIDEO WARNING: Please be advised, this video contains some profanity:

VIDEO WARNING: Please be advised, this video contains some profanity:

About 8,000 customers were without power after the explosions. But, power was restored to Quincy and Soap lake about a 45 minutes later.

PUD crews worked for several hours to reroute power from other sources.

As of 11:00 p.m. Grant County PUD said about 1,800 customers in the Ephrata area were still without power. Officials expect to have power fully restored by about 3:00 a.m. but it could take longer in some areas.

PUD officials said the fire appears to have started in a transformer then caused an arc flash and several explosions which sparked more fires. An adjacent PUD building also caught fire.

No word yet on what caused the initial fire.

The Grant County Sheriff's Dept. is asking Ephrata residents to stay at home and keep the roads clear for their safety.


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