Power outage strikes the heart of Mt. Airy’s commercial district

(Update 7 p.m. Most businesses in the 7100 block of Germantown Ave. have their power back. Of the few that remain dark include The Sedgwick Theater. The Quintessence Theater Group is hoping the power returns for its scheduled 8 p.m. performance of Don Juan)


Dark coffee is the flavor of the afternoon at Infusion in Mt. Airy. It’s not so much about cream and sugar as the fact that the lights have been out since about 2 p.m.

The entire 7100 block of Germantown Avenue has been in the dark for hours – and that means the lights at the busy intersection of Germantown Ave. and Mt. Pleasant Street are dead too.

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PECO workers say the power outage was caused by a blown overhead line near that intersection on Mt. Pleasant Street earlier in the afternoon. Local resident Robert Byrd saw the action.

“I was walking up this way and I see this big smoke ball, and it blew,” he said while looking up at the charred telephone pole. He said the traffic lights at Germantown and Mt. Pleasant avenues went out right away.

Meanwhile, Jocie Dye, owner of Infusion, said she has watched as businesses on the other side of Germantown Avenue have slowly had their lights turned back on. It was lucky there was no live music planned for the evening – rare on a Friday, she said.

Actors from the Quintessence Theater Group sat on the sidewalk enjoying the spring weather and hoping the nearby PECO workers could get the stage lights working again soon for their 8 p.m. performance of Don Juan.

PECO employees climbed down into a junction exchange chamber beneath the street and worked to re-route power pathways to isolate the damaged line and get the lights back on for everyone before curtain call. They expected it would take about an hour.

At the peak of the outage, PECO spokeswoman, Liz Williamson said 980 customers were without power this afternoon.

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