Around 6 PM this evening Boston fire was called to the area of 40 Dalton St the Back Bay Hilton Hotel for a reported transformer explosion. Before companies arrived the 2nd alarm was transmitted. Shortly thereafter the 3rd & 4th alarms were sounded. The fire was in a concrete building owned by Nstar and housed 2 transformers at an estimated 115,000 volts combined. Nstar was immediately requested to the scene to de-energize the units as the fire was quickly gaining strength. The key here is that no water was able to be used as the electrical vault was "water reactive". As a result there was a large scale power outage that affected the South End, Back Bay, Kenmore Square, Chinatown & the theatre district. Nstar says there is no estimate at this time as to when the power will be restored. It has been reported that the fire has been knocked down & investigators are going into the vault to look at the damage and determine the best way to start restoring power. In any event; this will be a long duration one due to the fact that trailers need to be brought in with generators to power the sub station so Nstar workers can systematically begin to restore the power back to the affected areas. My guess would be upwards to about 250+ thousand people were affected by this. It was also being reported via twitter that some cell phone carriers were experiencing issues as a result of the "Boston black out". The traffic in the area is complete total gridlock. Smoke could be seen for miles. Foam was also used at the scene with the assistance of the Massport fire department
Based on scanner reports there was 1 person transported to a Boston area hospital with respiratory issues due to the smoke inhalation. The Back Bay Hilton and the Sheraton were both evacuated for safety precautions. The Boston Medical Center was also reporting to have several people walk in with smoke related injuries due to the fire. No serious injuries were reported from officials at the scene. A media staging area has been set up on Dalton Street near the scene and multiple media outlets are doing live reports as well.
As for the MBTA goes the Orange & Green lines have been hardest hit. The following stations have been shut down as a result: Hynes, Symphony, Mass Ave, Copley, Arlington and the Prudential.
Traffic wise: Storrow Drive westbound (leaving town) jammed solid from Leverett Circle to the Eliot Bridge, Eastbound is wide open except the Copley ramp inside the Storrow tunnel is CLOSED. The Masspike Eastbound has been closed at the Allston/Brighton tolls and all traffic is being detoured into Brighton via Cambridge St. (Do keep in mind that power is out in that area and it is also gridlocked). The Prudential tunnel has been closed both ways (hence why Storrow west is jacked up). The MassPike East itself is at a standstill back to the Weston tolls trying to get to BostonThere are also a number of area roadways around the scene that are blocked off as well; Mass Ave/Boylston St etc. The ramp to the Mass Ave connector off the Southeast expressway is open for those needing to access a hospital. The Mass Ave bridge inbound from Cambridge to Boston . Again for the latest on traffic updates follow my twitter feed (@nefirebuff) or tune your radio to WBZ 1030AM for the latest every 15 minutes.
Boston police and fire department officials are currently responding to multiple alarms and stuck elevator calls throughout the city with the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police. As far as those calls go so far no injuries have been reported.
This will be continuously updated throughout the night-feel free to leave comments or drop an email to me with any updates and I'll do what I can to post them.