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LIPA Electric Shorts Cause Smoke And Burning Wires

Several Lake Success homes experienced electric sparks and smoke

Several Lake Success residents were stunned last week when they suddenly heard a loud explosion and soon smelled smoke in their homes. Last Tuesday, May 1, shortly after noon, residents of the Meadow Woods section of the Village of Lake Success heard a “boom,” a loud explosion that many quickly identified as a not-so-uncommon electric transformer “blowing.” Immediately following the explosion some residents saw smoke in their homes, while at least one resident saw electronic equipment sparking. All who reported a problem smelled smoke and burning plastic.

According to LIPA, the problem was indeed a transformer issue. Mark Gross, LIPA acting communications director, told the Great Neck Record that the harness on transformers serving part of the Meadow Woods area broke and the wires touched. Mr. Gross said if the wires are not separated by a harness they can touch and this, he said, will cause “irregular voltage” such as flickering lights. Some residents had already been complaining of flickering lights. Prior to this latest incident, one resident had called LIPA reporting that his lights were often too bright. Mr. Gross said that this is another result of wires touching.

The homes affected by last week’s incident were “just a handful of houses” on Bridal Path Lane and Birch Hill Road, according to Mr. Gross. He said that by late last Tuesday the problem was fixed. The harness was quickly replaced and Mr. Gross said that there were no injuries.

Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department Chief James Pitzer, who was at the scene of homes that reported smoke, was also relieved that no one was hurt. Chief Pitzer told the Record that he was called to Bridal Path Lane with a report of smoke in two private residences. He reported that three surge protectors at one home had burned and two surge protectors at a home next door also burned out. The chief further reported that burning electric material was “arcing away from the rear of one home” that was near the damaged transformer.

Lake Success Mayor Ron Cooper assessed the situation and quickly reported that “all is well.” After speaking with a LIPA regional district manager, the mayor confirmed that the transformer burnout did cause the smoke in several Lake Success homes and he said that the residents experiencing such problems were advised (by LIPA) to call an electrician to survey their homes.

Mayor Cooper added that in response to frequent blackouts in the area, LIPA has been replacing electric lines in his village. “The LIPA work is going well,” he said.

Mark Gross at LIPA advises residents with electric power problems to call LIPA at 1 800 490-0075. Anyone who sustained damage due to last week’s transformer blowout can call the LIPA claims office 631 348-4115. Mr. Gross said that all claims will be investigated.