‘Brownout’ causes smoke alarms at Route 58 businesses

Firefighters park outside the Tanger 1 outlets during Monday's brief power outage. (Credit: Paul Squire)
Firefighters park outside the Tanger 1 outlets during Monday’s brief power outage. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A partial power outage Monday afternoon affecting a string of storefronts along Route 58, including Tanger Outlets and Wal-Mart, caused smoke and haze to fill up a few stores and forced dozens more to temporarily close.

The outage occurred about 5:30 p.m., said Tanger Outlet general manager Janine Nebons.

About the same time as the power outage, Riverhead firefighters and fire marshals were called to the Holiday Inn Express and offices in the complex on Commerce Drive over reports of smoke, said fire marshal Craig Zitek.

A store at Tanger — Nautica — also reported smokey conditions, Ms. Nebons said. Stores in Tanger 1 and Tanger 2 closed temporarily while the power was out.

Traffic lights along the stretch of Route 58 also lost power for roughly an hour, and police had to direct traffic.

Mr. Zitek said the outage was a “brownout” that cut partial power to buildings along the corridor, which caused electrical systems to break.

“Things are trying to run, but they don’t have the power to run properly,” he said. A switch gear in the electrical room of the hotel malfunctioned, he said, while several rooftops air conditioning and ventilation units atop the Commerce Drive offices produced smoke.

Mr. Zitek said he was unsure of what caused the outage.

“It hasn’t been a hot summer yet so its not like everyone’s using their air conditioners,” he said.

By 7:45 p.m. the outages had been mostly restored, according to an online PSEG outage map. A temporary repair was made by PSEG workers, with a full repair scheduled for Tuesday, Mr. Zitek said.

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