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Thousands lose power in Grant Co. due to substation 'explosion'

People in Soap Lake, Quincy and Ephrata are all impacted by the outage. There is no estimation on when power will be restored.

EPHRATA, Wash. – About 10,000 people were without power in the Grant County area after a reported explosion at Grant County PUD substation Wednesday night.

People in Soap Lake, Quincy and Ephrata were all impacted by the outage. At around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Grant County PUD said customers in Quincy and Soap Lake have had their power restored. Crews restored power to everyone by about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

"What's following this phase...is we will initiate a team to figure out what was the root cause, what are any subsequent lessons learned from this," explained a Grant PUD official on Thursday. "So something like this doesn't happen again."

PUD officials said the reported explosion was an arc flash, meaning that there was a fault in the power line. It caused an explosion of light and sparks and multiple fires in the substation yard in Downtown Ephrata at Nat Washington and A Street. They said it last for about 45 seconds and they believe it was due to the weather.

Later, PUD officials said the explosion was caused by equipment failure at one of the substations, specifically the transformer, but they were not sure what caused the equipment failure.

"Now that it looks like we have the power restored, we're going to try to figure out what caused the outage," said Chuck Allen, from Grant PUD. "It could be days before we know what caused it, but we're going to take our time so we can prevent this from happening again in the future."

Emergency crews were able to quickly put out the fires around the substation yard. A maintenance building also caught fire and fire crews were able to save a majority of the building. No injuries were reported.

Officials asked that anyone without power refrain from calling 911 unless they had an emergency. Residents with questions about the power outage can call Grant PUD at 800-216-5226.

This story has been updated.

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