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Power Outage Clears Out Store Coolers, Knocks Out Stop Lights

February 17, 2014, 6:00 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Power Outage Clears Out Store Coolers, Knocks Out Stop Lights
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

A power outage that lasted more than six hours affected more than 8,000 customers in Sioux Falls Monday morning.

Xcel says the outage was caused by the overnight snow, ice and wind; it turned the lights out on homes and businesses in central Sioux Falls.

The lights at Lewis on 41st Street and Minnesota Avenue went out before the store was supposed to open and it took hours before the doors would open.

"Our first call to the power company gave us an 8 a.m. estimated time of fix; then they estimated 9 a.m.  Now they're up to 11:30 a.m. and that's too long so we have got to make a move," Lewis manager Bob Deaton said.

The outage started at 5 a.m. Monday and after five hours with the lights out, employees at Lewis had to start moving everything from eggs to orange juice out of the coolers.

"We need to make sure we maintain product quality and that so we're just going to relocate it at one of our other locations and get it into coolers until our coolers get back to a safe temp to hold it in," Deaton said.

Lewis workers frantically trying to move out the frozen food weren't the only ones affected by the outage; businesses up and down Minnesota Avenue were all left in the dark.

The outage also turned off the traffic signal at 22nd Street and Minnesota Avenue causing confusion and frustration for drivers.

The lights did come on just after 11 a.m. Monday but the six-hour power outage lasted long enough to also have an impact Monday afternoon.

"It's going to take us a couple hours until after the power comes back on because of course we have to get our coolers back down to temp," Deaton said.

Employees at the Lewis spent the afternoon inspecting and restocking the coolers with all of the frozen and perishable food. The manager says everything was back to normal at the store by 2 p.m. Monday.

Hy-Vee on Minnesota Avenue also had to clear out its coolers and shelves because of the power outage.

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