Power outages in Rapid City

Black Hills Energy's website shows where power outages are affecting about 4,000 customers in Rapid City. 

An electrical issue caused a small fire that led to the power outage Sunday night that briefly left about 4,000 Rapid City residents without power.

Mutch Usera, spokesman for Black Hills Energy, said the outage was reported at 8:52 p.m. and affected 4,021 customers in southern Rapid City. Power was restored by about 11:15 p.m. 

Usera said a building within one of the company's major substations at 751 East Catron Blvd. has switch units and an electrical fault occurred in one of the units, which caused the fire. 

The fire set off smoke alarms, which brought Black Hills Energy line crews and the fire department to the scene.

Usera said Black Hills Energy crews extinguished the fire before Rapid City Fire Department officials arrived on scene.

"We have sensitive smoke alarm fires within our systems, and it worked accordingly," he said. 

The outages were contained to southeastern Rapid City, with the largest confirmed outage extending north-south approximately from South Middle School to just past East Catron Boulevard, and east-west from Fifth Street to Robbinsdale Park. 

A map of the outages on Black Hills Energy's website showed Rapid City Regional Hospital in the affected region, but Dan Daly, a communications specialist with Regional Health, said the hospital never lost power. 

Regional is fed from two different substations to guard against outages like the one Sunday, he said. The hospital also has two large emergency generators that can power all patient rooms and patient-care areas. 

Two other buildings were affected, however: Hospice House and a grounds garage. Daly said the Hospice House has an emergency generator, which provided power during the outage. The garage does not need power 24/7, he said.

The Rapid City Fire Department did not immediately return a request for comment, but tweeted Monday that firefighters responded to five calls for service related to the outage, including two fire alarms, two service calls for people having problems with oxygen equipment and the fire at the substation.

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Contact Candy DenOuden at candy.denouden@rapidcityjournal.com

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