By Sabina Mollot
On Friday, an electrical short in some underground wiring caused a power outage in three buildings in Peter Cooper Village.
At around 12:20 a.m. the short caused smoke to start billowing out of two manhole covers located between 2 Peter Cooper Road and 510 East 23rd Street, according to a Facebook post from property management. The buildings 3, 4 and 5 Peter Cooper Road were then left without power and heat.
A resident at 3 Peter Cooper told Town & Village she was told by public safety officers that there was a transformer fire impacting the building. However, a spokesperson for the FDNY couldn’t confirm the presence of fire as opposed to just smoke conditions to T&V.
A spokesperson for Con Ed, Bob McGee, said the utility considered the incident a “burnout,” which would indicate more of a smoke condition than a fire, although the FDNY will still refer to this as a transformer fire.
The cause of the short, McGee said, is still being looked into.
“They usually have to do a post mortem” on the cable, he said, which can take a couple of weeks. McGee added it was a little early in the season for these kinds of smoke conditions, which typically happen in the winter when rock salt gets into manholes. This can exacerbate a problem if there’s a break in underground cables.
StuyTown Property Services, along with the Facebook post, alerted tenants by putting up fliers in buildings, sending texts and visiting seniors and people with disabilities.
However, the aforementioned resident said she didn’t hear about the situation until the next morning with a note from Stuy Town General Manager Rick Hayduk that was slipped under her door.
The woman, who asked that her name not be mentioned, said she requires the use of electricity for oxygen use, and fortunately, Peter Cooper employees were able to hook up a generator to the building so was able to use oxygen again a half hour later.
Her only complaint was the lack of communication during the incident, saying she doesn’t have a smart phone and she only later learned later of the existence of a senior/special needs tenant database.
Hayduk later said that 3 and 4 Peter Cooper Road had power restored by 4 p.m. on Friday and 5 Peter Cooper Road early on Saturday.
“The safety and comfort of residents remains a top priority of StuyTown Property Services and SPS greatly appreciates Con Edison’s attention and expeditious handling of this situation,” he added.