Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg electrical fire knocks out power to section of Fourth Street N

ST. PETERSBURG — Firefighters and electric company workers were on the scene of a fire Tuesday afternoon that knocked out power to Orange Blossom Catering and several other homes and businesses around 220 Fourth St. N.

Fire trucks surrounded the area, traffic was diverted from Fourth Street and brown smoke could be seen at the back of the building.

Duke Energy spokesman Sterling Ivey said the loss of a transformer left roughly 3,000 people without power downtown for about 20 minutes in the early afternoon. About 256 customers still did not have power at about 3 p.m., he said. Service was expected to be restored to everyone by approximately 7 p.m.

Ed Shamas, the owner of Orange Blossom Catering, said a transformer behind his building failed shortly after 1 p.m. He said flames and a shower of sparks slid down the electrical pole that held the transformer.

"It wasn't like it was a tremendous explosion," he said. "It was almost like lighting a firecracker."

Orange Blossom still did not have power at about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Shamas said a few of the businesses around him did not have power in the morning. Duke Energy workers responded and were there most of the day. Then the transformer blew up, sparking the wider outage.

Inside Orange Blossom, Shamas said he keeps about five coolers stocked with meats, vegetables, and desserts — "Who knows, $20,000 worth of food or something," he said — all of which were at risk because of the outage.

Shamas, who has run the catering company for approximately 40 years, said the supplies could last about 12 hours — but if the outage persisted, he planned to rent refrigerated trucks to save his stock.

The caterer was done with his appointments for the day when the power went out, and Shamas said he should be able to meet all obligations on Wednesday, including art clubs and a mental health services customer in Tampa.

"One way or another, we'll get them food," he said.

Randy Wojcik, 52, works at Orange Blossom and lives in an apartment building just behind the broken transformer. He also did not have power midafternoon Tuesday and planned to stay at his girlfriend's house seven blocks away overnight.

"I have food in my fridge and everything," Wojcik said. "But the main thing is, it's extremely uncomfortable with no fans or air conditioners in those apartments."

Times staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed to this report. Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zsampson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Twitter: @zacksampson.

St. Petersburg electrical fire knocks out power to section of Fourth Street N 07/02/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  3. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.
  4. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.