Downtown power outage leaves Bank of America building closed

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Crews are working to replace transformers, cable and wires underneath the ground at the Bank of America Center that still has the power knocked out.

Thirty businesses in the building are closed, but some employees came to work this morning not knowing today was an unexpected day off.

A home video shows the fire that started underneath the ground in Downtown Richmond and sent flames shooting about 10 feet in the air.

Now, Dominion Virginia Power crews are working overtime to get power back up and running at the Bank of America Center. That power is not expected to be back up until at least late Saturday. So that means the 600 or so people that work in this building got today off.

But some people like Verniece Johnson didn't know. "No one called. No e-mails. I checked the website it said no emergency closing. I came up here and found out the building was shut down," she said.

Verniece works on the third floor and traveled in this morning from Short Pump. "I guess some people found out. I guess I didn't get that message," she said.

She wasn't the only one. Another woman who didn't want to go on camera said she had no idea her office was closed.

We talked to the property manager at the center. He says he notified all 30 businesses that use this building that it would be closed today.

Dominion Virginia Power says the fire left extensive damage to transformers, wires and cables underground here that are hooked up to the Bank of America building. It is going to take quite some time to remove the old equipment and put the new stuff in.

In the meantime, most people working here now have a four-day weekend.

"I would have liked to have known so I could have stayed in bed and sleep," says Verniece.

We are told the cause of the fire is under investigation by Dominion. What we do know at this point is that some equipment underground malfunctioned.

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