Most customers on the island of about 3.2 million residents still were without power Thursday morning, officials said.
An unspecified failure led to a fire at the Costa Sur power plant outside the town of Guayanilla on the southwest coast around 8:45 pm Wednesday, cutting power across the island, Kevin Acevedo, vice president of the Puerto Rican utility company LUMA Energy, said at a news conference. Firefighters have since extinguished the flames.
All customers on the island lost power service initially, Josue Colon, Puerto Rico’s lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters, “because all the generating units went offline.”
LUMA Energy, which operates the island’s power grid, expects power to be restored within 24 hours of the incident, Acevedo said at the news conference.
Hospital’s intensive care floor temporarily lost power
The intensive care floor at Mayagüez Medical Center, on the island’s west coast, temporarily was without power because of backup generator issues, prompting LUMA to especially focus on restoring power there, officials said.
Four patients on that floor were intubated, and would have been moved to a floor with electricity had service not been restored quickly, officials said earlier.
Puerto Rico’s airports were operational, and no flight cancellations were reported due to the outage, according to officials.
Police have a plan to help circulate traffic with the lights out, but “we ask for cooperation from drivers on the roads,” Pierluisi said.
Replacement power plant parts ordered, official says
Firefighters extinguished flames that affected two substations at the plant, the Bureau of Puerto Rico Fire Departments said Wednesday on Facebook.
The cause of the fire is being investigated, Acevedo said Thursday morning, adding that the equipment was up to date on maintenance inspections.
Cleanup at the plant is underway, and replacement parts have been identified and ordered, Acevedo said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Puerto Rico’s lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer. It’s Josue Colon.
CNN and Espanol’s Rafy Rivera contributed to this report.