N.J. Transformer Fire Leaves 10,000 Without Power

EDISON, N.J. – A transformer fire at the PSE&G substation on Pierson Ave. caused a widespread power outage to almost 10,000 homes and businesses for several hours, leaving many in the dark until power could be restored.

On Feb. 28, just before 4:30 p.m. the Edison Fire Department was dispatched to a reported transformer fire near Pierson Ave and Route 1. Responding apparatus could see a wide column of thick black smoke pluming into the sky indicating this wasn't a typical transformer fire.

Firefighters encountered a large transformer filled with mineral oil burning inside the PSE&G facility with flames shooting up to 30 feet in the air. A water supply was established and a deck gun was placed in operation to cool down surrounding transformers being exposed by the intense heat.

The transformer continued to burn for over an hour until a foam engine from Carteret entered the property and applied foam directly to the fire. Once the foam was applied to the burning transformer, the fire darkened down and the smoke turned from thick black to white.

The fire was completely extinguished around 5:45 p.m., but fire personnel remained on scene for several hours monitoring the steaming transformer.

Major traffic problems resulted in the area due to traffic lights being out and the proximity of the incident to Route 1 and Route 287 during rush hour. At times the traffic came to a complete halt as commuters glanced over at the intense flames and smoke.

Parts of Woodbridge Township, Edison, and almost all of Metuchen were affected by the power outages. The power was completely restored to all homes and businesses by 8:30 p.m.

There were no injuries.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.