An explosion rocked the Department of Public Works and Electric building in Union City early yesterday afternoon. Not many people in the Village heard what happened to cut their power. But employees and a guest at the village DPW and Electric building sure did.

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The explosion busted up a key piece of gear in the city’s power grid. Luckily, none of the village employees inside the building were hurt. The same goes for local firefighters who were quickly on the scene to help put out a resulting small fire in the building. Two firefighters however were hit with heat exhaustion but recovered in short order.

Power to the small village of around 2,500 people was lost until around 10 pm. It was back on for a bit. Then a big system fuse gave out taking the village back into the dark. More repairs were done and the system was back online around 10:30 pm. So far everything seems to be working OK.

The Village, not quite 20 miles south of Battle Creek,  posted regular updates on its Facebook page, followed by photos of some of the damage.

City electrical system workers are now trying to figure out exactly what created the conditions for the blowout to happen.

The village describes the issue like this: "A line that feeds the entire Village’s power system inside 106 Coldwater Rd experienced a major malfunction, caught fire and caused an explosion. This line connects the substation and our switch gear and was running about 4 megawatt of power when it failed. This is high, but not unusual and within the capabilities of our 5 MW system."

The village credits the local fire department with a fast and effective response.
"The Union City Fire Department did a great job in keeping our building in tact and battling a tricky electric fire in a highly energized building where the fire had spread to an attic area. We greatly appreciate everybody’s assistance and that this team took a potential 2+ day outage and got us back and running in around 8 hours."

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