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Hundreds lose power in eastern part of Franklin County

August 31, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

MONT ALTO, Pa. -- Hundreds of people in the mountainous eastern portion of Franklin County, Pa., were without power Monday night, including the entire Penn State Mont Alto campus.

Allegheny Power reported trouble within its system at about 6:45 p.m. Electricity was restored by 9:30 p.m. for an estimated 241 customers who were affected in the Fayetteville and South Mountain areas, according to Allegheny Power's website.

In addition to that, Penn State Mont Alto officials decided to turn off electricity across the campus after smoke was reported in room 301 of the general studies building, Mont Alto (Pa.) Fire Chief Dan Reed said.

The smoke originated from a light ballast or fan motor, Reed said.

The campus operates on a three-phase electrical system. If one phase of that is not working, as was the case due to the Allegheny Power outage, the system doesn't provide enough current, Reed said.

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"Therefore, their service doesn't work properly," he said.

Someone smelled smoke in the general studies building, which is on the main campus road, and called 911, Reed said.

The fire chief said he was "almost 100 percent sure" the smoke issue was related to the Allegheny Power outage. Campus officials planned to restore power to one building at a time to ensure the system was functioning as it should.

The power outage tripped an alarm at Michaux Manor assisted-living community. Reed said it is common for a large facility's alarm system to activate when power is cut.

Allegheny Power's website attributed the outage to problems on the main line, but did not list the cause.

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