West-End Transformer Fire Leads to Massive Power Outage
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West-End Transformer Fire Leads to Massive Power Outage

A man directs traffic at King and University during rush hour. Photo by Adrian Incogmed.

For approximately one quarter of a million Torontonians, power went off today at 4:44 p.m.—the result of a fire at a transformer station near Kipling Avenue. As of 9 p.m., it was mostly back. Torontoist’s live updates throughout the outage are below, in reverse-chronological order.

8:45 PM: According to Hydro One—who we just called to confirm reports from readers and contributors that power is back on city-wide after the outage—”all load has been restored” to the system, which means power is coming back on everywhere, if it isn’t back already. That, then, ought to conclude our live coverage. Thanks, as always, for following and contributing.
8:16 PM: At around 6:15 p.m., after the fire was put out but before power came back on, Torontoist’s Christopher Drost was at the Manby Transformer Station, just south of Kipling Station, and took these photos of the blown-out transformer:

Photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.

8:01 PM: Reader Adrian Incogmed sends these photos, of a man directing traffic at King and University during rush hour:

Photos by Adrian Incogmed.

While helping out in this way might seem like one of the more civically responsible things you can do during a blackout, Toronto Police actively discourage it, citing safety concerns.
7:48 PM: And now, reports of power back on throughout Etobicoke.
7:23 PM: Full TTC subway service is now resuming. (The Bloor line, from Jane to Kipling, was closed two hours ago.)
7:16 PM: More reports of power whirring back on at Christie & St. Clair, King & Bathurst, Ossington & Davenport, Keele & Annette, Bloor & Royal York, and Bloor & Islington. Some contradictory reports about Bathurst & Eglinton and Bathurst & St. Clair—some readers say the power’s back on for them there, others not so much.
6:56 PM: And a great little anecdote from the Globe, with the royal family in town visiting: “At the Fairmont Royal York hotel, the lights went out just as Prince Philip began awarding the Duke of Edinburgh awards in the Canadian room. ”
6:49 PM: And as far as disaster capitalism goes, surely you can do a lot better than this, Toronto.
6:46 PM: Reports from multiple readers now, of power back on along the waterfront: Spadina & Bremner, York & Queens Quay, King & Spadina…
6:33 PM: We’re awaiting new news—in the last half hour, we’ve heard no new reports of power returning back on where it was off before. Mayor David Miller is expected to be sending a statement to press shortly. According to TTC Chair Adam Giambrone, two trains were stuck in the tunnels when the power was turned out, but passengers are safe. And the temperature right now is 32°—which feels like 43°.
5:59 PM: Stephen Michalowicz sends this shot, of the cloud moments after the explosion that he saw earlier this afternoon burst out of a transformer station:

The transformer fire moments after an explosion. Photo by Stephen Michalowicz/Torontoist.

In the meantime, Toronto Police have no ETA for the power to fully return, but report some 250,000 customers are affected.
5:51 PM: Reports from readers now of power back on at Queen & Shaw, Queen & Bathurst, Dundas & Shaw, King & Dufferin, Bathurst & Adelaide, Queen & Lansdowne…
5:48 PM: From Nile Livesey comes this photo of the fire:

Photo by Nile Livesey

5:26 PM: A map of the areas affected, from Toronto Hydro. The live version is here.
5:39 PM: We have some as yet unconfirmed reports of the power coming back on along the more northern parts of Bathurst—at Eglinton, Lawrence. But nearly all of those who lost power an hour ago are reporting it’s still off.
5:20 PM: Because of the power outage, the Bloor-Danforth subway isn’t running from Jane to Kipling; shuttle buses are currently running in the line’s stead.
5:11 PM: According to our readers, staff, and Twitter followers:
Where the power’s reported out: Sherway Gardens, Cloverdale Mall, Queen & Spadina, Jane & Lawrence, Bathurst & Eglinton, King & John, St. Clair & Christie, Islington & Bloor, Queens Quay & Yonge, Spadina & Adelaide, King & Spadina, Bathurst & St. Clair, Queen & Dufferin, Dupont & Christie.
Where the power’s reported on: University & Dundas, Queen & University, Bay & Bloor, Yonge & Sheppard, Yonge & St. Clair, Jarvis & Wellesley, Yonge & Eglinton, Bathurst & Bloor.
5:06 PM: Happening now: a blackout across large portions of downtown, caused by a transformer fire. Our Stephen Michalowicz saw the fire first hand, as what he calls a “giant fireball” lept eight storeys tall out of a transformer station at Kipling and Norseman just before 4:45 p.m. this afternoon. Michalowicz reports that fire crews are on the scene of the fire at the transformer station, near Kipling Station.
We’re tracking the blackout now, and will be collecting minor updates on our Twitter, @torontoist, and major updates here. If you have tips or photos, send them to [email protected].