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HomeNewsCosta RicaMassive fire at San José power station leaves more than 100,000 buildings...

Massive fire at San José power station leaves more than 100,000 buildings without electricity

UPDATE: 6:18 p.m. The National Power and Light Company (CNFL) and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute reported on Thursday evening that power had been restored to all customers at around 5:30 p.m.

Water services also were restored during the day, and some areas only were waiting for repairs in phone and internet services.

The power outage caused classes to be suspended at some schools near El Porvenir de Desamparados, the area most affected by Wednesday explosions.

Desamparados Mayor Gilberth Jiménez said at a press conference that only ten homes suffered damage for the explosions, most of them in their electrical systems.

CNFL crews on Thursday morning conducted repairs at one home where part of an utility pole fell on the roof.

The CNFL said in a news release that psychologists, social workers and technical staff from that agency visited 160 homes in the surroundings of the electric substation to inspect damage and respond residents’ consultations. Also to inform them about the procedures for filing claims for damaged appliances.

The agency reported that a total of 120 people worked through the night to replace five utility poles and 500 meters of power lines, and also in restarting operations at the substation.

Original story follows:

Large sections of San José were left without power after what appeared to be massive explosions at an electric substation lit up the skies over El Porvenir de Desamparados, just south of the capital.

At the time of this writing, the cause of the fire at the station, which belongs to the public National Power and Light Company (CNFL), has not been determined. Luis Fernando Andrés, distribution director for the CNFL, told the media that the incident early Wednesday evening has left at least 100,000 residences and businesses without power in southern and eastern San José.

He added that the incident did not cause any injuries or damage to neighboring buildings. It prompted firefighters from around the city to rush to the site to control the blaze, according to the Firefighters’ Corps.

The power outage affected traffic lights around the city, provoking increased roadway chaos during a week when San José has already struggled with unusually severe traffic woes.

Residents took to Twitter and Facebook with photos and videos of the extraordinary explosions, visible from vantage points around the Central Valley.

“I thought the aliens were coming for us, but it turned out to be the ICE,” wrote one Twitter user.

We will continue to update this developing story, and ask that readers with news, photos or videos contact us via Facebook or at

Watch videos and pictures of the event published on social media

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