City of Lawton officials are making adjustments in operations as a massive power outage continues to leave large areas of the city in the dark.
Lawton City Hall expects to be without power for the remainder of the work day, but a generator is allowing some departments to continue operations. That includes the utility services division (water department) and license and permits, but business is being done manually, rather than using computers.
Lawton Public Library, and the Owens Multi-Purpose and Patterson community centers are closed, but H.C. King Center remains open because it has power, city officials said.
The Lawton Public Safety Center also is without power, but some areas – including municipal court – are functioning on generator power, meaning they are open.
Traffic signal lights in affected areas also down, and city officials are asking drivers to treat all intersections usually controlled by signal lights as four-way stops.
The outage also affect several area towns, but power had been restored to Elgin, Fletcher, Apache, Lake Ellsworth and Cement by late morning.
A fire in PSO’s eastside power station is the apparent cause of a massive power outage that left east Lawton and towns in eastern Comanche County without power early Wednesday.
Tim Hushbeck, spokesman for PSO, said early Wednesday that while the cause was still under investigation, the fire appears to have started from a lightning strike from a storm that hit the area sometime around 4 a.m.
While there were scattered small outages in west Lawton, the brunt of the problem could be seen in east Lawton and as far west as downtown and as far south as Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport and the surrounding area. In the heaviest affected area, almost 8,500 customers lost power about 5 a.m. Elgin, Fletcher, Apache, Cement and the Lake Ellsworth area also lost power about 6:17 a.m., adding another 8,400 customers.
“At this point, I don’t have an ETR (estimated time of restoration),” Hushbeck said about 7:30 a.m., saying the priority is securing the power station, then switching customers to other power sources. “We have to get it safe first.”
Lawton Public Schools switched its students to a virtual day today, citing power outages across the city. Flower Mound, Bishop, Elgin and Fletcher announced they would cancel school.