The heat is on in Boerum Hill

The Brooklyn Paper
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Electrical fires, possibly sparked by Sunday evening’s vicious thunderstorms caused power outages that affected hundreds of people in Boerum Hill and Williamsburg and knocked out service along some subway lines.

By noon Monday, Con Ed was trying to restore power to about 640 residents and businesses in an area bounded by Pacific, Baltic, Hoyt and Court streets.

Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said the cause of the fire remained under investigation.

“Our priority is to get customers’ [power] back and then take the cables to the lab [for analysis],” he said.

In addition to inconveniencing steamy residents, the power outage also cut service along the F and G subway lines. The subways system has its own power supply to move trains, but signals are run off Con Ed’s power grid.

“We had to bring in generators to run the signals,” said Charles Seaton, spokesman for NYC Transit. “But they don’t produce as much power as Con Ed,” so signal service was spotty.

On Monday, transit authorities were running selected F Trains on the D Line between West Fourth Street in Manhattan and Coney Island. The G train was suspended from the Bedford and Nostrand station to the Smith-Ninth Street station. Both were expected to be running normally by the end of Monday.

Still, many residents were left waiting in Monday’s sweltering heat for the fan to turn on or the A/C to start pumping.

The power was out at Mike Grassotti’s apartment at Smith and Warren streets when he and his family returned from vacation around 7 pm Sunday.

“We have a 2-year-old daughter, so we would have liked to turn the A/C on when we got home,” Grassotti said, though he admitted the ordeal wasn’t too bad because his electricity came back “at about 8:30 am” on Monday.

But nearly 15 Con Ed trucks and dozens of workers were still doing underground repairs on Smith Street, between Warren and Wyckoff, during the afternoon on Monday.

Some businesses remained closed rather than fight the heat.

“Right now we’re just waiting on Con Ed,” said Jeff Ferdinand, manager of the Starbucks on Smith and Wyckoff, which would have opened at 6 am. The usually bustling java hub remained dark and empty.

Updated 4:08 pm, June 10, 2008
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