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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Transformer Fire Leaves Residents Without Heat, Power In Bitter Cold

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todd-quinones-web Todd Quinones
Todd Quinones joined CBS 3 as a general assignment reporter in J...
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By Todd Quinones

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In this bitter cold there is nothing like a toasty warm house to sleep in, but for some residents in North Philadelphia that wasn’t an option.

As these exclusive videos show, the transformer turned into a ball of fire that scared residents and knocked out power as neighbors scrambled to get help.

The transformer fire knocked out power to much of the 1600 block of Willington Street at Cecil B. Moore Avenue right near Temple University.

These Temple students who live off campus lost their power just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

Using their cell phones and candles for light they shivered through the night, hoping the power would be restored.

“One of my friends, their apartment, they woke up and it was 44 degrees, so it was pretty chilly,” Temple University Senior Kelly Klapatch said.

“I bundled up. I had three pairs of socks on, scarf, hat, everything,” Temple University Senior Ashley Lewis said.

The fire knocked out power for more than 20 hours and forced residents to start making other living arrangements to get out of the cold.

PECO crews were out repairing the transformer and power lines on Thursday and just before 6 p.m. the power came back on.

But the damage was already done for the owners of Pazzo Pazzo Pizza.

The owners were tallying up the cost of the food they have to throw away not to mention the lost business all thanks to the transformer fire.

“More people were coming in asking for food and everything was shut off. The register was off, the lights were off,” restaurant owner Michael Sanchez said.

The transformer has since been replaced and neighbors say they are relieved to have the heat back on.

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