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Vandals cause blackout

By:  Star Beacon - Shelley Terry

ASHTABULA A fire in the back alley of a furniture store is blamed for a citywide power outage Monday.

About 2,500 residences were left in the dark for more than four hours after vandals set a mattress box on fire at about 5:30 p.m. behind Michael's Furniture, 4520 Main Ave..

Ashtabula firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and set up fans to ventilate the Head Start building.

No one was injured, but the blaze damaged the rear exterior of the Head Start office, 4510 Main Ave.., and a nearby utility pole.

The utility pole turned out to be very important to the city's power supply, said Mark Jones, area manager for the Illuminating Co.

"The situation cascaded and tripped our substation (at West 51st Street and Jefferson Avenue)," Jones said. "The mattress was wrapped around the (utility) pole."

The outage affected homes, businesses and traffic signals until 9:50 p.m. from Woodman Avenue east to the Ashtabula Township line.

For some businesses farther east, such as the Edgewood Dairy Queen, the blackout caused headaches and disappointed customers. Folks expecting a cool ice-cream.

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