Blackout in Calgary from 2014
On Saturday, October 11, 2014 Calgary suffered a blackout as a result of an underground electrical fire located on 8 Street SW between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue. The following is a rough timeline of the events as we saw them, living directly beside it.
8:17 pm: Honking heard from outside. Found streetlights on 8 street SW were malfunctioning from 4 Avenue to 10th Avenue. Some lights all green, others all red, some flashing, one completely dark. We called the non-emergency Calgary Police line to report it. Police and transit on scene immediately to direct traffic.
8:18 pm: Calgary Transit tweets they are aware of traffic lights out.
Due to a traffic signal malfunction at 7 avenue and 8 street SW, we are experiencing a minor delay in train service. *JR
— Calgary Transit (@calgarytransit) October 12, 2014
8:21 pm: Calgary Fire Department on scene.
8:23pm: Surrounding buildings report loss of Shaw services.
8:31pm: Firefighters descend into manhole to investigate. (Did not witness them leave the manhole)
8:40pm: ENMAX on site.
9:09 pm: Loud explosion heard, small amount of smoke visible from uncovered manhole.
9:12 pm: ENMAX and Calgary Fire Department reverse to a safe distance from smoking manhole.
9:24 pm: More explosions heard, smoke intensifies.
9:39 pm: Burning plastic smell prominent.
9:40 pm: CFD battalion chief arrive (two vehicles).
9:45 pm: Smoke intensifies.
9:48 pm: Multiple explosions.
9:51 pm: Multiple explosions accompanied black, acrid smoke. (Placed bandanas and towels over our faces).
9:53 pm: Power lost in the area and alarms heard sounding in surrounding buildings.
9:57 pm: ENMAX tweets awareness of the situation.
ENMAX is aware and addressing the situation.
— ENMAX (@ENMAX) October 12, 2014
9:58 pm: Calgary Police Services tweets awareness of ENMAX issue.
— Calgary Police (@CalgaryPolice) October 12, 2014
10:01 pm: Power back on.
10:02 pm: Power lost for good.
10:06 pm: Flames visible in the manhole.
10:08 pm: Massive CFD engine response. Counted 15 that we could see on 8 street as well as 6 Avenue SW.
10:14 pm: Conducted telephone interview with 660 News about what we were seeing.
10:21 pm: Smoke and flames intensify. CFD vehicles move to a safer distance.
10:34 pm: Mayor Naheed Nenshi tweets awareness of the situation.
I don't yet have any more information about the situation downtown but avoid west end if you can. If you are there please stay put for now.
— Naheed Nenshi (@nenshi) October 12, 2014
10:38 pm: Calgary Fire Department tweets awareness of situation.
Our members are dealing with a serious underground fire at this hour. Please avoid 8th St. S.W. between 4th Ave & 9th Ave. @CGYFireFighters
— CGYFireFighters (@CGYFireFighters) October 12, 2014
10:42 pm: CFD starts placing hoses out in anticipation of spraying fire retardant.
10:46 pm: CFD sprays fire retardant.
11:09 pm: Fire declared out and spraying is complete.
11:39 pm: Smoke sets off alarm in the basement of the East Calgary Place tower, putting both towers in alarm.
11:42 pm: Smoke no longer coming from manhole. Area filled with white fire retardant.
11:52 pm: Calgary Place alarm silenced.
12:00 am: Investigation begins.
Here is a compilation of all the videos that we recorded with our camcorder during the emergency. Not all clips are in the right order but we had to work fast with a generator to get this post accomplished. – Mrs & Mr. Crackmacs <3
This notice came over our in-suite intercom multiple times, warning us to evacuate or be prepared to evacuate if it becomes mandatory.
Investigators believe the origin of the fire was a relay used to control street lights. Due to the extent of the damage caused by the fire and a subsequent blaze a few hours later, investigators cannot determine what caused the relay failure.