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UPDATE: Blackout hits downtown DL

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Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
UPDATE: Blackout hits downtown DL
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

A power outage late Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning left downtown Detroit Lakes in the dark after one of the city's sub-stations shorted out.


Streetlights and traffic lights were dark during the two-hour blackout, which affected a large section of town, including the main downtown business area and West Lake Drive.

The north side of Detroit Lakes and areas west of Highway 59 and east of Roosevelt Avenue were unaffected by the blackout.

Two traffic lights at relatively quiet intersections were not working on the new section of Highway 10, but traffic lights were functioning at the key intersections of Washington Avenue and highways 10 and 34. No accidents were reported.

Essentia St. Mary's Health had power throughout the blackout.

The power outage started about 10 p.m. with a fire alarm at the Detroit Lakes utilities station located in the same building as the police department downtown.

Detroit Lakes Police Sgt. Chad Glander said a lot of smoke was produced, but no flames.

Firefighters aired out the building, and officers responded to several false alarms apparently caused by the power outage, including an alarm at a bank and one at ACS.

Roger Moltzan, electric distribution supervisor with Detroit Lakes Public Utilities, said there was a malfunction in the switchgear for the substation, located on Front Street.

When the breaker blew, so did power to downtown.

"But we have contingencies for this sort of thing," said Moltzan, "So basically power was shifted over to our other two substations, and they should be able to handle the whole load -- it just took a little while to get it all switched over."

Moltzan says the equipment has to be inspected before being repaired in order to find out the cause, but he says he does not believe it was a surge of energy use during the hot weather.

"It happened at 10 at night, so I just don't think it was load-related -- I think it was just bad timing."

Moltzan says he doesn't know how long it will take before the substation is up and running again or how much it will cost.

But in the meantime, he says the public should not have to worry about scaling back in energy use.

"I think we're OK," he says, "We'll have to do some things on our systems to level things off, but I think we're fine."