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All power restored in Tampa

(ran ET edition of Tampa Today)

As Tampa Electric Co. crews worked Sunday morning to restore power to the last 10 customers affected by a Saturday night fire, officials continued to investigate the cause of the blaze that briefly darkened downtown Tampa.

Officials confirmed Sunday that no one was inside the abandoned house at 1601 Marion St. that burst into flames about 10 p.m. Saturday, said Tampa fire investigator Mike Gonzalez. The fire at the two-story wood frame building burned a TECO transmission line and knocked out power to 5,000 customers downtown and in Ybor City, said TECO spokesman Mike Mahoney.

About 3,000 customers had power restored in 20 minutes and all but 10 customers had their power back by 1 a.m., Mahoney said. The last 10 customers had power by 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

"We have to put up with that all the time," Mahoney said of the outage. "It's nothing you can completely protect against, but we have 24-hour trouble crews set up to respond to that."

Opening night of The Phantom of the Opera was interrupted for several minutes at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center near the end of the program. Emergency lights went on in the last 15 minutes of the show and stage manager Randy Buck appeared to explain to theatergoers that the power was out.

"I had about 10 people come up to me after the show who said they thought it was part of the show because there are so many things the Phantom does unexpectedly," said Sonya Trezevant, TBPAC public relations manager. The audience clapped when the performance began again.

For the second time in a month, WFLA-Ch.

8 lost power for about six minutes during the broadcast of I Witness Video." A month ago, the station lost power when a car hit a TECO transformer and knocked out power downtown.

"We were definitely better prepared this time," said WFLA assistant chief engineer Mark Schaefer. "I've been here since 1981, and we had never lost power until this year."

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