Kendallville substation

Utility trucks are parked outside the Indiana & Michigan Power substation off South Orchard Street in Kendallville.

KENDALLVILLE — Power crews attempting to switch electric from transformer to transformer as part of ongoing utility work in Kendallville accidentally knocked out power to thousands for about 90 minutes Tuesday afternoon.

Then, the power went out a second time later in the evening, with a second outage that hit about 4:30 p.m.

At about 1:15 p.m., an error with the changeover led to an outage for most of Kendallville south of Mitchell Street.

“The outage occurred as crews were switching power from one transformer to another as part of construction work at a substation,” I&M spokesman Tracy Warner said.

Crews quickly worked to restore power, which was back by about 2:45 p.m.

A similar outage occurred back on April 12 when a problem with a transformer blacked out the same southside area, albeit for a much longer five hours. East Noble High School had to be dismissed early that day due to the blackout.

Power crews have been continuing the final phase of a transmission line upgrade between Kendallville and Avilla. Motorists traveling South Main Street have probably noticed the new stone driveways and utility crews in the area for the last few weeks as the work progressed.

Tuesday’s outage once again knocked out stoplights along Main Street and on S.R. 3 at the Kendallville entrances.

One incident that didn’t cause the outage was a small fire at the Noble County Council on Aging property at the former Max Platt building, which occurred at almost the same time as the power outage.

The Kendallville Fire Department was called to the property at the corner of Main and Iddings streets for a small fire around 1:15 p.m. Contractors working on the building were removing an old ventilation system and a fan motor sparked, catching some built-up paint on fire, Kendallville Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Smith said.

“Lots of smoke, very little fire,” Smith said.

Some residents had been speculating online the fire at the Council on Aging might have caused the outage, due to contractors working at the building as well as underground work happening on Iddings Street.

But the construction and the outage, although they both occurred around the same time, turned out to be unrelated.

After about two hours of having electricity back, the same area was affected by a second blackout, once again knocking out street lights and power to homes and businesses.

A similar 2,300 I&M customers were affected in the late-afternoon outage.

Warner said the second outage was due to the same transformer.

Power was restored shortly before 6 p.m.

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