Blown Transformer Evacuates OC High-Rise

OCEAN CITY — A blown electric transformer is being blamed this week for the evacuation of a smoked-filled high-rise condominium on the north end of Ocean City on Monday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Monday, the Ocean City Fire Department was dispatched to the Fountainhead condominium at 116th Street for a reported building fire after receiving a call from the condo staff that smoke was filling the main lobby area. Upon arrival, firefighters found smoking conditions in the lobby and the building being evacuated.

The investigation revealed the building’s transformer malfunctioned, causing it to overheat and begin to smoke. When the transformer blew, it caused an interruption in electrical service to the Fountainhead condominium along with a restaurant on the premises. Witnesses in the area reported hearing the transformer blow up from a few blocks away.

Delmarva Power this week confirmed the transformer malfunctioned at 9:08 p.m. on Monday and caused a power outage for 175 customers in the area. The generator was repaired and power was ultimately restored to the area around 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday.

With the building having an emergency generator, the fire alarm system remained on, notifying occupants of the building of the need for an immediate evacuation, according to Ocean City officials. Also connected to the emergency generator was the condominium’s common area lighting in walkways and stairwells along with exit sign illumination. According to Ocean City officials, the back-up emergency generator was vital to ensure all residents and visitors were able to find their closest escape path.