Southeast Portland neighborhood reports ‘huge explosion’ after electrical substation bursts into flames – OregonLive

A substation explosion on Southeast 60th Avenue and Stark Street filled the sky with a bright red flash Friday night. Credit: Luke Wenker
As Portland’s heavy storm raged on Friday night, people reported seeing a large explosion light the sky after an electrical substation caught fire in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood.
Luke Wenker, who lives just a block from the station, said he was in his home when he heard a “massive explosion.” He first mistook it as a car accident, but when he stepped outside he immediately saw the fire.
“Everything outside was lit up,” he said. “There were flames coming off of the whole structure.”
Portland Fire and Rescue responded to the explosion on Southeast 60th Avenue and Stark Street around 9 p.m., fire officials said in a statement Saturday.
A PGE representative who lived in the neighborhood advised firefighters to let the fire burn until more crews arrived, the fire department said. KOIN 6 reported that the incident left around 3,000 customers without power.
Power has been restored in the area, according to PGE.
The power station was still energized and oil from a transformer was burning along the ground, which made fighting the fire complicated. The blaze did not leave the substation fences, and no one was injured.
Hundreds of people on Reddit and Twitter reported seeing a “massive fireball” turn the sky red, and some said they could feel the shock wave from the first explosion. Wenker said he heard multiple booms.
Once the fire became more manageable, PGE crews came to check the damage. Firefighters put out the remaining flames.
PGE is investigating the cause of the fire, spokesperson Andrea Platt said.
– Austin De Dios; adedios@oregonian.com
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