Fires, electrical shorts and outages reported during massive power surge in JCC

(Photo courtesy of Liz Kilmer/WAVY)

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A power surge resulted in dozens of 911 calls, two house fires, and thousands of outages on Wednesday.

According to an official with Dominion Energy, a transformer malfunctioned inside of a substation in Kingsmill, causing voltage issues.

Starting around 3:40 p.m., fire crews received 44 power-related calls in Kingsmill and Grove. Many were for reports of electrical shorts, and smells of smoke. Two calls were for reports of transformer fires and two were for house fires within the Kingsmill on the James community.

“I just started smelling fire, and I turned around, and there was smoke coming out of the closet,” says Nancy Olexa, who lives in the neighborhood.

“I race around the house, thinking we had a real problem,” her husband Carl tells 10 On Your Side.

The couple quickly ran outside, discovering that the home next door had smoke coming from the roof.

“I was scared… it was so close to ours, that I ran for the hose,” Carl says.

Firefighters quickly controlled the situation. There were no reports of injuries.

Electrical crews worked to repair the transformer that malfunctioned. Dominion re-routed power to isolate damage to get power fully restored.

Dominion Energy has released the following statement:

We have identified an internal software issue which was the source of the problem that caused the power and voltage issues that occurred on Wednesday in the area served by the Kingsmill substation. We have made the necessary adjustments to prevent future occurrences at this location. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.

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