2 Transformer Explosions in Hoboken in the Last 12 Hours — What We Know via PSE&G

Around 8PM last night, some Hoboken Girl readers began reaching out to us with questions about a sound of an explosion uptown on 11th and Hudson. Other eyewitnesses shared that the Hoboken Police Department had blocked off a section of uptown Hoboken, and others gradually contacted us letting us know that they had lost power. By the end of the night, it was reported that nearly 5,000 residents had lost power. Read on to learn what we know about the situation, what information the City has released, and an update a PSEG spokesperson gave us on the incident. 

A transformer exploded in uptown Hoboken on the corner of 11th and Hudson Streets, leaving many residents and businesses without power and wondering what happened. Just hours later in the early morning hours on February 16th, another transformer exploded near Park and 14th Streets. Throughout the night, our readers sent photos and videos of the scene.

exploded transmission hoboken blackout

^ Photo of 14th and Park explosion by @brakethrough_jf

Several restaurants in town were operating when the power outage occurred. A resident who was at Il Tavolo di Palmisano shared that around 7:50PM that at least in one of the restaurants, none of the patrons were upset and continued to eat — in the dark. The staff brought out candles to the tables and within an hour, they had power once again.

The same resident caught a clear video of the second transformer explosion from 14th and Park. The video captured the second transformer explosion. The video shows that police and PSEG are on the scene and have it safely secured.

Another resident shared a video of the first transformer explosion on 11th and Hudson Street.

 

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In a statement released by the City of Hoboken, Mayor Bhalla explained, “Power has been restored by PSE&G in the majority of areas in Hoboken affected by the transformer outage. 500 residents still remain without power. PSE&G will continue to work throughout the night on repairs. Police officers from the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey Transit Police Department, North Bergen Police Department, and Union City Police Department are currently assisting the Hoboken Police Department and Hoboken Fire Department with deployments. No injuries were caused by the transformer incident.”

We reached out to PSEG to inquire if the causes of the transformer explosion and live wire fire had been identified and if the area had been rendered safe for pedestrians once again.

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A rep for PSEG responded via phone. “Because of the extreme weather, freezing rain, and wind, sometimes infrastructure is affected and there are outages. Cruisers are there working on it and fixing the infrastructure,” Rebecca Mazzarella PSEG Spokesperson told Hoboken Girl.
“Something alarming to me when I watched a video of the scene was that there were so many people close to the wires. If there are exposed wires, absolutely stay away from them. Our cruisers have already made it safe for the general public, and our overhead cruisers are there now making repairs on the infrastructure.”
Chief Crimmins of the Hoboken Fire Department told Hoboken Girl, “at electrical emergencies, the HFD’s first priority is to maintain a safe perimeter until power is shut down to arcing electrical wires or transformers.  Communication with PSE&G and our public safety partners is critical.  At that point, we confirm that the electrical hazard is mitigated before we extinguish any fire.  Last night’s incident was commanded by BC Anton Peskens and this morning’s incident was commanded by BC Joseph Turner.  Both incidents appear to have been handled very well, with no injuries to responders or pedestrians reported.  PSE&G was also very prompt and helpful in immediately responding to both incidents.”

This comes while many cities across the country are experiencing similar situations as a weather advisory had been issued days ago, warning of inclement weather.

We will update the story as more details unfold. Whether residents can expect more power outages caused by weather in the coming weeks is yet to be seen.

To report an outage by phone call 1-800-436-PSEG {7734} or text “OUT” to 4PSEG {47734} – Register your phone first by texting “REG” to 4PSEG.

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Victoria is HG's Editorial Assistant and Social Media Coordinator for the Hoboken Historical Museum + Fire Department Museum. She is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square, and Jersey City. Through playing softball in town for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting, or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.