Thousands left without power because of underground fire

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Thousands of Ameren customers were left in the dark overnight. It was because an underground fire. At the height of the outage some 6,300 customers were knocked off line.  The cause of the fire was a short in an underground cable.

Streets lights stopped working, restaurants closed and homes went dark late Wednesday night when underground Ameren equipment malfunctioned and touched off a fire. It happened below the street at Salisbury and Broadway. Even after firefighters extinguished the flames crews had to wait to make repairs until the air was safe.

The Rib Shack Restaurant closed for a short time, in that period of time the cash registers became messed up. James Nutall is the kitchen manager. He said, "It's a little frustrating you know what I mean you have to take time to fix that."

More than 100 residents at a north side apartment building where senior citizens live were without electricity.

Joseph Robinson is a resident. He said, "This is getting me upset." Robinson is 81 years old and disabled, he can't charge his motorized wheelchair and his caregiver cannot cook him any meals. Robinson added, "I can't get upset, the doctors always tell me this, it could cause a heart attack."

More than a dozen businesses in this shopping center at Grand and Martin Luther King closed. A supermarket brought in a refrigerated truck to protect perishables.

Customers who wanted to shop at the stores were surprised when they arrived. One of them was Dee Watson. Watson said, "I came down here to get a pair of shoes for myself for Christmas I was shocked is anybody working today I had no idea what was going on."

When the power went off 3 high school canceled classes. Student Jihad Muhamad did have school, it's finals week. Muhamad said, "I planned on getting up early to study but the power was still off so I couldn't really do anything it was still dark so it messed up my study time in the morning." He said he's hopeful he passed the test.

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