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3,800 GET POWER BACK AFTER SUBSTATION FAILS

Parts of the towns of Hamburg and Orchard Park lost electrical service Thursday night as temperatures nosed into the single digits and the wind chill plunged well below zero.

The loss of power, reported shortly before 7 p.m., affected about 3,800 customers of New York State Electric & Gas Corp. But service was restored for all by about 2:30 a.m. today.

The area included McKinley Parkway, Parker Road and South Park Avenue plus the vicinity of the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg and Powers, Armor-Duells Corners and Abbott roads in Orchard Park.

Mike Sabatino, a manager for the utility, said the problem involved the Armor substation.

"We are going to have to install a portable substation tonight before we can restore power," he said Thursday.

While power was off, fire police directed traffic at intersections, a Hamburg police dispatcher said, as efforts were made to obtain generators from the state Department of Transportation to power the traffic signals.

Three fire halls were opened to residents seeking refuge: Big Tree, Armor and Scranton No. 1 on Scranton Road.

As of 10 p.m., few people had accepted the invitation.

"We do have a couple of people here," said a woman at the Scranton fire hall who identified herself only as Mary. "Our halls are fully functional right now."

Hot chocolate, coffee and doughnuts were available at Scranton, and cots were sought for those who might stay overnight.

Nobody had shown up late Thursday at the Big Tree fire hall, which was unaffected by the outage, according to the Rev. Joe Bayne, chaplain for Erie County Emergency Services. "Right now, we don't have people storming in," he said.

No "refugees" had shown up, either, at the Armor fire hall, which was using a generator.

"The power is out, but our generator is running," said a department spokesman.

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