Puerto Rico fire leaves 1.5 million without power

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22 (UPI) — A fire at an electric plant caused a massive blackout across much of Puerto Rico, leaving 1.5 million people without power on Wednesday, government officials said.

Traffic was jammed and businesses were closed due to the outage, but telecommunications are working and Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport remains open, Alejandro García Padilla, Puerto Rico governor, said during a news conference.

Officials at the government-owned Electric Power Authority are trying to find out why two 230,000-volt transmission lines failed, causing the fire.

It could be another 24 hours before power is restored to about half the island’s population. The outage has caused the water to be shut off as well as the light in some areas of the island, newspaper El Nuovo Dia has reported.

The blackout was the cause of 15 more fires across the island due to malfunctioning generators, including in the tourist area of Condado, authorities said. All fires have been extinguished and no injuries have been reported.

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