NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of people lost power Wednesday in Queens, and business owners say this isn’t the first time.

As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, it was a loud burst around 7 a.m. followed by sparks flying and calls flooding 911.

“The lights just blinked, and then all of a sudden a loud bang, and then darkness,” Maspeth resident Alex Liggins told Rozner.

“It scared me out of my skin, because it was the loudest explosion I’ve heard over here,” auto shop employee Vinnie Bell said.

“I stay here, I pray, pray, pray,” said Maspeth resident Marina Aldana.

Businesses at 48th Street and 55th Avenue were left without power and patience for more than five hours. In January, a transformer exploded in the same location. A few months before that, owners say it happened, too.

“It’s like the second time already happening to us and we had to throw a bunch of stuff out from the fridge,” deli employee Catherine Torres said.

The 48th Street Deli lost money, closing for the day and letting perishable food go bad. Employees at Hylan Datacom and Electrical worked in the dark, the computers only running thanks to a backup generator.

The owner of a local pizza shop told Rozner he’s lost thousands of dollars.

“We don’t know what to do. Our next move — we’re thinking about putting a generator in,” owner Gus Kaloudis said.

Workers at a nearby engineering company found a component, which they said was left behind from the last outage.

“This is corrosion and rust that cause acid to burn the cable out,” said worker Subhas Rajkumar. “They’re not doing the proper maintenance at this point, so now everybody’s suffering… Seems like Con Edison — either they’re doing the work or they’re not doing the work properly.”

A Con Edison spokesperson told CBS2 the outage was weather-related and it stands but its equipment, saying it’s properly maintained. The company said moisture in the air caused arching Wednesday, bringing down wires in three locations.

“Every time it happens is when it’s raining or snowing. So it never happens when it’s dry,” Liggins said.

The business owners won’t be able to get reimbursed. ConEd says an outage needs to last for a minimum of 12 hours for them to file any claims.


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