SIOUX FALLS, SD -
It's being called the worst power outage in Sioux Falls in 20 years.
The problems began around 4:30 Friday morning when an underground transformer fire blew off a manhole cover, buckled the sidewalk and sent flames into the air. Twelve hours later, the lights are still out at several businesses, including restaurants and banks in downtown.
During a 3:30 p.m. update on the situation, it was announced a shelter has been set up for the 200 customers without power. Anyone who doesn't have heat in their home due to the power outage can go to the Red Cross office at 808 West Avenue North.
Xcel Energy says crews from Minneapolis are in Sioux Falls to help get power restored. A spokesman says it is reasonable to say that it may take all weekend to get the power back on. And while you may want to set up a generator for heat, Xcel asks the public not do that because it could cause more problems.
Fire Chief Jim Sideras says there are no current threats or gas leaks at this time. Fire crews are going through buildings in the affected area and passing out fliers to make sure people know where they can go to get out of the cold. Sideras says you shouldn't use your oven, grill or certain heaters to keep your home warm as that could lead to carbon monoxide problems.
Sioux Falls Public Works is monitoring infrastructure in downtown. They ask people to take measures to keep their pipes from freezing.
KELOLAND News has several crews working on this story. Tune into KELOLAND News at 5 and 6 for the latest on the power outage.
Click on the video player below to watch coverage of the 3:30 p.m. update.
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