Power restored to market area after fire

September 07, 2007|By Richard Irwin and Gus G. Sentementes | Richard Irwin and Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporters

Power was restored late yesterday afternoon to the remaining Federal Hill businesses and residences that lost electricity after a fire Wednesday in a tavern basement near Cross Street Market. In all, 300 customers had lacked power.

Rob Gould, a spokesman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said power was restored shortly before 6 p.m. after BGE crews replaced more than 1,000 feet of conduit cable damaged from the fire at Stalking Horse Tavern in the first block of E. Cross St.

Linda Foy, a BGE spokeswoman, said the last customers to have their power restored were about 30 homes and businesses closest to the fire.

The fire, which remains under investigation, broke out shortly after 4 p.m. in the basement of the tavern and spread through underground conduits. Four manhole covers - each weighing up to 300 pounds - blew into the air, and firefighters evacuated people from nearby shops, rowhouses and the sprawling, enclosed market.

Gould said the power outages were not caused by BGE equipment.

Jung Huh, who co-owns Kim's Restaurant on Light Street, arrived with her husband at 5:30 a.m. yesterday and found her shop without power. Worried that $1,000 worth of food might spoil, she packed it in ice and then left.

"No customers, no money," Huh said.

Cross Street Market opened on time yesterday, though there were few customers. Hash Mehta, who owns Mama's One Stop Bakery, said that when he arrived, "everything was working" but he worried that shoppers would stay away.

"People might be thinking the market is closed, but we're open," he said.

In an unrelated incident involving electrical power, about 1,000 BGE customers in the Mount Washington area of North Baltimore were without power for at least two hours yesterday evening after an underground cable malfunctioned in the 5800 block of Falls Road. Power had been restored to 95 percent of the households by 6 p.m. and to the remaining 5 percent by 8:30 p.m.

Reported at 4:10 p.m., the malfunction caused one manhole cover to "pop," BGE's Gould said.

What caused the cable to fail was being investigated, he said.

A Fire Department official said BGE crews took gas readings along Falls Road from Northern Parkway to Mattfeldt Avenue and Clarks Hill, and that no gas leak was found.gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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