Update: EMS Chief Joe Bilotto said that Con Ed restored power to all but four apartments. The issue turned out to be electrical and inside the building, and not a Con Ed issue. An electrician arrived around an hour and a half after Con Ed to correct the issues and restore power.
An electrical fire in the basement of Halstead Avenue's Executive House Associates apartment building could force residents out of their homes for the night if responders declare there is an internal building problem, rather than a Consolidated Edison issue, Harrison police said.
The building's electrical system caught fire in the basement Thursday afternoon, likely due to a heavy usage of electricity to fight the day's high temperatures. The Harrison Fire Department was the first to respond, police said.
As the events progressed, Harrison police and emergency medical services also arrived at the scene.
"Con Ed is trying to figure out if it's something they can fix, or if it's an internal building issue," Emergency Medical Services Chief Joseph Bilotto said.
Bilotto said that residents of the building have been asked by Harrison police to vacate the building and consider other arrangements for the night, but some refused to leave. Emergency responders opened up the Harrison Veteran's Memorial Building down the street so residents could have an alternate location to cool off.
"We don't want to have 700 patients today," he said.
Terry Eppridge lives on the sixth floor and said she was cooking when she was asked to leave the building.
"Nothing to this extent has happened before," she said.
If Con Edison finds that the issue is something they can repair, the building can be running again within hours, police said. But if it is an internal building issue that they cannot alleviate, the apartments could be without power until late tomorrow.
Temperatures on Thursday reached a high of 96 degrees, according to the National Weather Service . The area is expected to cool down this coming weekend with temperatures dropping to the low 80s.
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