Barcelona grinds to a halt in massive power blackout

23rd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 July 2007, BARCELONA – A massive power outage hit much of Barcelona on Monday, snarling traffic, forcing hospitals to suspend operations, halting public transport and trapping people in lifts, officials said.

23 July 2007

BARCELONA – A massive power outage hit much of Barcelona on Monday, snarling traffic, forcing hospitals to suspend operations, halting public transport and trapping people in lifts, officials said.

There were no injuries reported in the blackout which began shortly after 11 a.m. and affected most of the seaside metropolis as well as several adjoining suburbs and cities.

Power was slowly returning to some parts of the city just after 12 noon.

Local police doubled the number of officers and patrol cars on the streets as traffic lights shut down, causing chaos among the thousands of motorists. Police said there were no immediate reports of accidents caused by the outage.

Trains on the city’s metro, or underground transport system, stopped in their tracks and carriages went dark until engineers started emergency generators.

Firemen were called to dozens of buildings to rescue people trapped in stalled lifts and hospitals scrubbed scheduled operations as their facilities went dark.  Surgeons operating on patients when the blackout struck carried on with electricity supplied by backup generators, hospital officials said.

Officials at the Fecsa-Endesa power company blamed the outage on the failure of the high-tension network which feeds electricity to the region of Catalonia but said they did still not know the cause.

But the power problem occurred at the same time that two important electrical substations caught fire with billows of smoke pouring into the sky.

Spokespersons for the Telefónica telecoms company said the blackout did not affect fixed telephone lines but did cut service from 200 mobile phone relay stations scattered around the city.

(Copyright EFE with Expatica)

                                Subject: Spanish news

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