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Power Outage Hits Major U.S., Canadian Cities
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Says Outage Not Terror Related
Compiled From Wire Reports
Thursday, August 14, 2003; 5:25 PM
NEW YORK -- A huge power blackout hit U.S. cities spreading from New York to Cleveland and Detroit and north into Canada Thursday afternoon.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Thursday said that a massive power outage that hit New York City and other East Coast cities was not caused by a terror attack.
Power outages were reported in the New York metropolitan area and Detroit, as well as in Toronto and Ottawa, witnesses said.
The outage was caused by an outage at a Manhattan power plant which destabilized the power grid as far as Canada, FERC spokesman Bryan Lee said.
"We have no indication that there is any terrorism involved," Lee said.
In New York City, the blackout affected subways, elevators and airports, including John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that control centers and airport towers in New York and other American cities affected by the blackouts were running on diesel backup generators and flight operations were normal.
Thousands of people streamed into the streets of lower Manhattan in 90-degree heat.
In Toronto, Ontario, too, workers left their offices after the blackout hit shortly after 4 p.m. EDT.
Traffic lights were out throughout downtown Cleveland, creating havoc at the beginning of rush hour.
There were reports of outages in New Jersey and Connecticut as well.
Every prison in New York state reported a loss of power and had switched to backup generators, said James Flateau, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.
White House officials were monitoring the blackout from Washington and from San Diego, where President Bush addressed troops at midday.
© 2003 The Associated Press