Prince George's County power outages caused by downed tree

Pepco is slowly restoring service to customers in Prince George’s County and D.C. after a downed tree on a power line caused an outage.

The outages Friday afternoon included parts of Joint Base Andrews.

Pepco says about 50,000 customers were out at the peak of the problem. As of 6 p.m., just over 100 customers were still without power.

With chilly and damp but otherwise calm weather, the power outage came as a surprise for Seat Pleasant resident Pete Jones.

"I was inside washing clothes. When I got finished...and put it in the dryer, blink!," Jones recalled.

According to Pepco, a single tree fell in the woods of Camp Springs, crashing onto a 69,000 volt transmission line. That took out four substations and created the outage, which stretched from Cheverly to Oxon Hill.

Capt. Lindy Singleton at Andrews says power has been fully restored to the base. She says she's unaware of any critical operations affected by the incident.

Along Central Avenue, Terry Campbell was frustrated to be turned away from her grocery store.

"Well, I just went in there so I could get my medicine, and the the lights just went off," Campbell said. "...I'm like, 'Oh man, come on cuz I need my medicine."

Problems compounded at that grocery store when a back-up generator sent too much juice back out into the grid. A transformer started shaking, and Pepco warned of an explosion. The Addison Plaza Shopping Center was evacuated, as were about 20 nearby homes.

"They went door-to-door, making sure everybody had all their family members and pets out of the house. Everything is all good now, and I'm glad the fire department did what they could do," said Kirk Ingram, who was evacuated from his home on 68th Place.

WMATA also reported the outage caused some commercial power outages, but it’s not affecting rail service.

From Pepco: “We are experiencing outages caused by a downed tree on a transmission line. We hope to have most customers back on within an hour.”

For power outage updates, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.