Downed utility pole shutters Lake Street businesses

Fallen utility pole closes businesses, park, cancels Festival Theatre

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Patrons at Lake Theatre thought they were going to see "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" or "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" – instead they got stuck with transformers.

Not the movie, but the mechanical device that provides electricity to the theater, 1022 Lake St., and its neighbors along the north side of commercial corridor.

Tom Dominguez, a spokesman for ComEd, said that earlier in the day on Aug. 22, a utility pole equipped with the transformer fell over in the alley behind the historic theater, crashing into the building and prompting the electricity provider to cut power to 12 separate customers along Lake Street.

At around 3 p.m., employees in the buildings adjacent to the theater were headed home early for the day, and movie goers stood around hoping the movie house would reopen. 

The Oak Park Fire Department and Oak Park Police Department were on the scene shortly after the utility pole fell over. Oak Park village spokesman David Powers said in an email, sent around 3:40 p.m., that Lake Theatre had reopened, but nearby Chase Bank was still without power.

"The Park District closed Austin Gardens as a precaution and canceled tonight's Festival Theater performance," Powers said in the email, adding that ComEd crews are replacing the pole and transferring the wires.

"According to the Fire Department, there was no indication of what may have cause the pole to fail," Powers said.

Dominguez said in a telephone message that ComEd got a call about the downed line shortly after 3 p.m.

"[ComEd workers on the scene] don't know what the cause of it was or when the pole initially fell," he said. "The crews right now are bracing the pole and in the process of cleaning that up."

They will replace both the pole and the transformer and expect to restore electrical service to the area by about 7 p.m.

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