Van Buren power outage leaves thousands in the dark

by Ryan Saylor ([email protected]) 217 views 

Much of Van Buren south of Pointer Trail was plunged into darkness Wednesday (Aug. 28) after power went out shortly after 9 p.m.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric, which provides power for much of the western section of Van Buren, said the outage was affecting 5,995 customers, including 3,104 in Van Buren, 2,125 in Muldrow, Okla., and 766 in Vian, Okla. (as of 10:45 p.m.).

According to Sgt. Mark McGraw of the Van Buren Police Department, the outage was affecting much of the city, extending from an area between Vine and Wood Streets in the southern section of the Van Buren to Pointer Trail in the northern section of the city, just south of Interstate 40. The outage also affected areas from the Arkansas River in the west to about 28th Street in the eastern section of the city.

According to Rob Ratley, Arkansas Community Affairs Manager at OG&E, the company has been able to determine the source of the power failure.

"Our outage was due to a transformer failure by Norton Alcoa, formerly St. Gobain, on Riverside Drive (in Fort Smith)," he wrote. "The outage is isolated and currently being worked by our crews and should be restored soon."

McGraw said his officers saw what appeared to be some flashes looking off toward Fort Smith, though they thought the situation had occurred near the intersection of 4th Street and Broadway, at the base of the Midland Avenue Bridge.

As for timeline for when power would be restored, an OG&E crew in Van Buren said it could be several hours before power was restored in the city. Ratley was more optimistic.

"(It) should be much shorter than that for the majority of our customers," he said. "Power has been re-routed and repairs are being made."