Police: 1 person injured in explosion at Sayreville power station; hundreds without power

JCP&L says that about 4,000 people were without power at the height of the outage.

Chris Keating

May 24, 2024, 4:12 PM

Updated 19 days ago


Update: As of Saturday, power has been restored for hundreds of JCP&L customers.
Hundreds of people are without power after a JCP&L substation along Main Street in Sayreville caught fire Friday morning.
JCP&L says that about 4,000 people were without power at the height of the outage. The company says that about 1,800 remain without power as of Friday evening and they likely won’t get their lights back on until the overnight hours.
Officials say the fire started while repairs were being made inside the substation, injuring a contractor for the utility who was doing the work. Sayreville officials say the victim suffered burns to his hands and was taken to St. Barnabas Burn Center for treatment.
It was just after 11 a.m. when witnesses say they heard an explosion, one which would knock out power to much of Sayreville.
Glenn Skarżynski, the borough administrator, says a temporary substation was trucked onto the property on Thursday.
“They were in the process of installing a temporary substation. We’ve been having some rolling brownouts over the last few days and they were making equipment accommodations to fix that problem,” Skarzynski said.
Businesses all around Sayreville were knocked offline. One of those was Rustoni’s Pizza right next to the substation. The owner is Butch Nesimi.
"We are getting ready for lunch, people are walking in. We heard an explosion, smoke in the air. Everybody had to leave the building,” Nesimi said.
Nesimi allowed News 12 crews inside to see that the power was off, the ovens were cool and the glass trays normally full of pizza were empty. It forced him to close for the day.
Nesimi is worried about losing all of the food stored in his refrigerators.
“Yeah, it’s refrigerated but I don’t know how long it’s gonna be off and if it’ll last long in the refrigerator,” he said. “As long as nobody got hurt, we can make up for it tomorrow.”
He's hoping to reopen for business at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
It’s the same for the other businesses, including the Krauszers, the Chinese restaurant and the nail salon in the plaza alongside the pizza shop.
It’s not only stores and homeowners that were without power, but so are some vital intersections in Sayreville. That includes Washington Road at Jernee Mill where there were traffic backups.
“The repairs are going to be extensive. They’re going to take some time. We anticipate at this point the outage will extend into tomorrow morning,” said JCP&L spokesman Chris Hoenig.
JCP&L is providing ice and water for anyone in need. It’s available as needed at the ShopRite in Parlin, as well as the Sayreville Senior Center.

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