Cable burnout causes Market City Cafe, Rookery to close for day.
A cable failure caused an underground transformer to burn out in front of Market City Cafe on Tuesday morning, leading to plenty of smoke but no fire.
Dino Mauro, owner of the cafe at the corner of Third and Cherry streets, said he saw smoke coming from underneath the sidewalk in front the restaurant just before 8 a.m. and called 911.
But Mauro said the smoke didn't faze customers eating breakfast there.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"We had a few tables (occupied)," he said. "But they didn't give a beat."
The cable burned itself out as it was designed to do, said William Zachary, an engineering representative with Georgia Power, which was working on the transformer later that afternoon.
Zachary said the cable probably was old. He added there was little risk of fire because the cables are designed to burn themselves out the way this one did.
"They are designed to burn until they self-clear," Zachary said. "That's actually what happened. The end result is that there is no power, but they won't continue to burn."
Zachary said the transformer was expected to be repaired by mid-Tuesday afternoon.
Both Market City Cafe and The Rookery, which is located further up Cherry Street, lost partial power to their establishments and had to close for the day. A sign in front of The Rookery said it was expected to re-open today at 11:30 a.m.
Mauro said having to shut down for the day was an inconvenience, but things could have been much worse.
"Not being open and losing money (is frustrating)," he said. "But the good thing was that it happened when someone could see it. ... Timing is everything, and no one got hurt."