Cable fault leads to power outages in downtown Indy

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Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - It was an unexpected shortened work day for hundreds of workers downtown because of a power outage. The outage near Delaware and Ohio came just a day after a fire near an underground transformer not far away.

It was lights out on a sunny Thursday for hundreds of workers inside the Gold building.

"We evacuated with cell phone lights and flashlights. Got people downstairs and they told us to go home and that they'd call us in the morning if we don't have to come back in," said Susie French.

Power was cut to the building around 9:15 am just as many workers were settling into the workday. The electricity failure also cut the air conditioning system at the nearby City-County Building. Indianapolis Power and Light traced the problem to an underground cable in the 300 block of Massachusetts Avenue.

"It's basically like a short," said Crystal Livers-Powers, IPL.

IPL says that the faulty cable isn't related to an underground transformer fire on Wednesday also on Massachusetts Avenue that sent flames 25 feet into the air.

"There was some oil that leaked out of an area near one of the transformers, so it was the oil that was burning off," said Livers-Powers.

At the Gold building, some workers went home while others waiting, hoping that the outage was only temporary.

"My predicament is that I can't get in my office and I have a brief due today. So the power's out and they told us it's going to be several hours before we can get into the building," said Yvonne Ferguson-Watkins, attorney.

IPL says that the two incidents are not related to concerns over several explosions of downtown underground transformers in recent years. A transformer exploded near the Gold building which caused a fire that damaged a restaurant in February, but IPL says that faulty transformer wasn't owned by the utility.

While the outage was disruptive for businesses, it's wasn't widespread, no streets were closed, and apart from workers told to go home, no one was hurt.

IPL says that so far, the cause of the cable short circuit is undetermined. Electricity was restored to the Gold building this afternoon.