Substation fire knocks out power in Wildwood area; some service restored

Atlantic City Electric expects to have all customers restored by 3 p.m. Saturday, some customers could be restored even earlier.

Police direct traffic at an intersection in Wildwood.

Police directing traffic on Rio Grande Ave IN Wildwood, N.J. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

This story originally appeared on 6abc

Thousands of customers in the Wildwood, New Jersey area were without electricity after a substation fire caused a power outage on Friday.

Atlantic City Electric said more than 24,000 customers were initially impacted but said as of 5 a.m. Saturday, the power was back on for approximately 16,200 customers.

Crews say they will continue to work around the clock to restore power to all impacted customers. They expect to have all customers restored by 3 p.m. Saturday, however some customers could be restored even earlier.

“We are looking for opportunities to reroute power to get as many customers restored as quickly as possible and then we’re assessing the damage of the equipment,” said Frank Tedesco, a spokesperson with Atlantic City Electric.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The company says the Lake Avenue substation in Wildwood had to be de-energized after a fire around 12 p.m. Friday.

The outage is impacting customers in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest.

“Saw the smoke, a lot of heavy black smoke, when it happened – sitting at my desk working, and next thing you know the neighborhood’s inundated with fire trucks, ambulances, and cop cars,” said Jim Schuhl of Wildwood.

The fire has been contained, Atlantic City Electric said. The cause is not yet known and no injuries were reported.

“We understand how disruptive this can be, we are working as quickly and safely as we can to restore service,” the company said in a statement.

Some area residents were more impacted than others by the power outage.

“Those people that are on home oxygen that rely on the electric to power their device, they start running into issues there, we had to relocate them,” said Chief of the Wildwood Fire Department Ernie Troiano III.

The North Wildwood Community Center at North 900 Central Avenue is open as a cooling station for anyone who needs to use it.

Wildwood police also said drivers should use caution as some traffic lights may be down.

Despite the absence of electricity, some businesses along the boardwalk continued to serve their customers.

“The rides are closed, everything closed, we try to at least serve some people,” said Gregory Zervas from Hot Spot restaurant.

Hot Spot served its customers in the dark, working off of its generator.

“We’re trying to do our best,” said Zervas. “We got a generator and everything is on gas.”

Even though many people could be seen fleeing Wildwood on Friday and taking to the highways, some said they would stick out the power outage.

“Positive, smiles! (We’re) grabbing pizza but no ice cream tonight,” said Marcy Paparizo.

Get the WHYY app!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal