Blown transformers leave parts of Wanamaker in darkness

Josh Rouse

At approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, a blown transformer near Wanamaker Rd. cut off power to parts of the road, as well as the businesses surrounding it.

Traffic lights are out in some places, and Topeka police officers are directing the heavily congested traffic.

More information will be available throughout the night on this developing situation.

Update: 10:14 p.m.

The situation seems to have dissolved itself as traffic lights are back on and businesses along Wanamaker appear to have power again.

The source of the blackout was two blown transformers on a hill behind West Ridge 8 movie theater at 1727 SW Wanamaker Rd.

Officer Claude Harrison, a security guard who was working at the theater during the blackout, reported seeing sparks and smoke coming from one of the transformers shortly after the electricity went off. Fire trucks, police cars and repair men were on the scene in a matter of minutes.

As a result of the outage, the theater had to cancel the films that were in progress, as well as the shows for the rest of the night. Company policy dictates that employees are unable to comment on the event to the media, except to report that about 500 patrons were in the theater watching movies at the time of the outage. The theater refunded the customers with coupons to see one show at the theater for free.

At a cost of $2 per ticket, the outage may cost the theater as much as $1,000 in future ticket sales.

Hollywood 14 Theaters, however, reported that they were unaffected by the blackout.