BY SARAH GREGORY
AND KEN LITTLE
Failure of a circuit breaker Thursday afternoon at the Greeneville Light & Power System's EastView Substation resulted in a loss or reduction of power for some customers Thursday afternoon.
The power surge that resulted triggered fire alarms at a number of businesses, knocked out some traffic lights and kept Greeneville fire and police responders busy.
The problem arose shortly after 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
GL&PS General Manager Bill Carroll said that power to most customers was restored just after 3:15 p.m., though some customers experienced partial or reduced power while crews resolved the problem.
Crews were able to restore power to the majority of customers by feeding from "alternate sources," Carroll said.
"We are lucky that we can feed [power] from different directions," he said, adding that the capability allows the utility to quickly restore service while working to fix the source of a problem.
Carroll said that three wires leave the utility's substations and run along most power lines.
One of the three lines lost power, causing a reduction of electricity channeled to larger customers that run on three-phase power, Carroll said.
He said that reduction caused a number of fire alarms at locations such as GL&PS headquarters, Niswonger Performing Arts Center, and Laughlin Memorial Hospital to be triggered.
Another fire alarm was triggered at the Capital Bank branch at 841 Tusculum Blvd.
The power surge overloaded an air conditioning unit in the bank, which started emitting smoke.
Firefighters responded and cleared the building of smoke without further incident, Capt. Bill Teague Jr. said.
The power surge triggered numerous alarms along the Tusculum Boulevard corridor.
"Alarms all went off at the same time. We were running out of fire trucks," Teague said.
Greeneville police also answered numerous alarm calls and reports of traffic lights not working.
"Everybody called at the same time," Sgt. David White said.
At least one wreck, at Tusculum Boulevard and Mt. Bethel Road, occurred during the outage, White said.