Update: Transformer ‘Burning’ Downtown Early Friday

Update: Transformer 'Burning' Downtown Early Friday
Fire trucks from companies and departments within a 25-mile radius of Pottstown (above and below) responded Friday morning to an underground transformer fire in at East High and Hanover streets in the borough. They remained on the scene as of 9:30 a.m.

POTTSTOWN PA – East High Street in downtown Pottstown, between Charlotte and York Streets, was jammed Friday morning (March 19, 2021) with fire apparatus from companies and departments within a 25-mile radius of the borough, summoned there by Montgomery County dispatchers in response to an underground electrical transformer fire that had the potential to threaten buildings. Some responders were still on-site as of 10:53 a.m.

At one point smoke could be seen emanating from a manhole cover at the northwest corner of East High and North Hanover streets (at top), surrounded by ripped slabs of concrete and asphalt, below which the fire was said to have started.

Transformer Reported 'Burning' Downtown Early Friday
Transformer Reported 'Burning' Downtown Early Friday

PECO Energy crews (above), accompanied by what The Post counted as 12 of its trucks, as of 9:30 a.m. were scattered at manholes that lined the streets, attempting to find and solve problems.

Update: Transformer 'Burning' Downtown Early Friday
Montgomery County’s Department of Public Safety set up its mobile command van Friday outside Pottstown’s Steel River Playhouse
Update: Transformer 'Burning' Downtown Early Friday
On North Hanover Street, at its intersection with East High Street in downtown Pottstown, firefighters trudged up exterior iron escape stairways Friday morning to talk with residents in apartments there about the bustling activity in the streets below. Earlier in the morning, some residents received alerts advising them to shelter-in-place after an underground transformer was reported to be burning

In addition to Pottstown, Montgomery County fire companies and departments responding to the downtown incident included Collegeville, New Hanover, North Penn, Limerick, Linfield, Stowe West End, Sanatoga, Ringing Hill, Perkiomen, Gilbertsville, Pottstown, and Upper Pottsgrove; along with several from Chester and Berks counties, including North Coventry and Amity.

The Post initially published a story Friday at 6:38 a.m. on the transformer incident. It appears below.

Transformer Reported ‘Burning’ Downtown Early Friday

POTTSTOWN PA – PECO Energy repair crews and fire police units from local fire companies were called by Montgomery County emergency dispatchers Friday (today, March 19, 2021) at 3:35 a.m. for what was reported by Goodwill Fire Company as an “underground transformer burning” on the northwest corner of High and Hanover streets in downtown Pottstown. No report of a cause was immediately available.

Additionally, in a message posted by the North Coventry Fire Company on its Facebook page, it reported “underground transformer explosions causing dangerous conditions” had occurred at the location. “Power is out in the area and streets are shut down. There is a shelter in place for certain residents,” it added.

A traffic light was said by dispatchers to be smoking as a result, and some residents in the area used social media to confirm power failures at their homes. At the time of the alert, fire police were asked to close a portion of East High Street east from York Street. A portion of Hanover Street between King and South streets also was said to be closed.

“Please avoid the area,” the North Coventry company urged. “Do not go around barricades. The areas are closed for your safety.”

Responding to dispatcher alerts as of Friday at 6 a.m. were fire police from the Sanatoga, West Pottsgrove, and Gilbertsville volunteer companies, and several trucks from Goodwill.

Alert map as a screenshot by The Post from Montgomery County dispatchers