Explosion and fire in Downtown Madison

Smoke blocked a closed East Washington Avenue Friday following an explosion and large fire at Madison Gas and Electric. STEVE APPS/STATE JOURNAL

C’mon! It was the hottest day of the year. Then a substation explosion and fire erupted at Madison Gas and Electric's main power center, leaving thousands without power on a busy Friday morning. “This is what emergency preparedness is all about. We drill for crises like these,” announced Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “We hope we never have them, but we are ready when we do.”

True. Madison was ready, and the city pulled through admirably — thanks to good planning and the cooperation of people who were suddenly driving without the benefit of traffic signals. But let’s give credit where credit is most due.

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Madison firefighters pulled on heavy gear and waded into the thick of it. In barely an hour, the fires were out and it was possible for MGE workers to get the city back on line. Our hats, with their sweat-drenched brims, are off, as always, to the members of Madison Firefighters Local 311 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 2304.

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