Transformer explosion causes blackout

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Just 17 hours after the clock struck midnight to ring in the New Year, there were some unexpected fireworks that affected residents across several Montgomery Village neighborhoods.

Tony Pierce was making some chicken soup in his Whetstone neighborhood home on Monday when he looked through his kitchen window and saw something incredible.

“I heard a thump, the lights went out and a huge flame, a big fireball was coming out of the transformer area,” said Pierce. “I stared at it in amazement for about a second and got the hell out.”

It was just past 5 p.m. when this explosion took the transformer on Centerway Road and blew to pieces, taking all of the light and heat from the surrounding neighborhoods with it.

Footage of the moment the transformer exploded was taken by Gaithersburg resident Jeff Truesdale.

“It was this massive explosion, the fireball was 50 to 80 feet high, it was huge,” saod Truesdale. “It shot out to the right and as we approached it we could see that it was some sort of electrical box.”

It only destroyed about twenty yards of open grass, but had it gone in another direction – it could’ve ended up in Tony Pierce’s kitchen.

No one was hurt, but with the sun dipping down, residents needed their light and heat back fast.

Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait to long.

“I was happy with what Pepco did here because we had the power back on in about three and a half hours,” said Pierce.

As for what caused the transformer to blow, Pepco crew members said they weren’t exactly sure, but added that the transformers old age and freezing temperatures were probably part of it.

The transformers blast was powerful enough to effect nearby Lakeforest Mall, causing a partial power outage in several of the stores and shops there.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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