SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 10, 2014

A rumble before the manhole explosion

SALEM — There weren’t a lot of warning signs before the manhole covers blew Tuesday afternoon on Central Street.

Maybe there was one.

Betty Bouchard, co-owner of Trolley Depot, said one of her commercial tenants called to say an electrical box on the wall of an adjoining office was making a lot of noise. After Bouchard checked it out, she called the Fire Department, and a couple of firefighters walked up from headquarters on Derby Street.

Right about then, just when the firefighters were checking the box, the first manhole explosion occurred right outside.

Grid lock

If nothing else, you have to give National Grid credit for sending a lot of troops to the city to try to fix the outage in the downtown. On Wednesday, they had workers going in and out of every manhole along Derby, Front and Central streets.

And did you see those huge portable generators parked outside Trolley Depot and The Essex condominiums on Church Street? National Grid brought them in to supply power to those buildings during the outage.

By the way, those contraptions may be what ISO-New England, the regional grid operator, was talking about when they warned that if the Footprint power plant doesn’t open here in 2016, the region may have to resort to “trailer-mounted diesel generators.”

Of course, the biggest generator here this week was only 1 megawatt, which means they’d have to line up 674 of those trailers to equal the capacity of the proposed Salem plant. Wonder if that convoy of trailers would stretch all the way from John Keenan’s house in North Salem to Lori Ehrlich’s house in Marblehead?

Kim Brady

It was quite the inauguration Monday.

The best lines of the day went to two men of the cloth.

The Rev. Dan Riley, pastor of Salem Catholic Collaborative, who gave the invocation, called Kim Driscoll “the Tom Brady of mayors.”

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