May 27, 2020

Harbor View Housing Loses All Power Friday - City Acts Fast

Mayor, City Officials Act Fast To Power 9 Story Building


500 KW Generator Brought in to Supply Building

The 9-story Harbor View Housing complex in Riverside, RI, lost all of its power on Friday, August 30th around 1 pm. An emergency generator provided power to the common areas, hallways and the elevators but not to individual rooms. City officials were contacted late Friday by Ward 4 Democratic Chairman Frank DeVall with initial reports of a building power outage. DeVall reported that the complex had no electricity, no air conditioning for the mostly elderly residents but the elevators were working.

Mayor Bob DaSilva investigated and reported back to the City Council, DeVall and others. "The Harbor View Manor is experiencing an electrical problem. Residents are without power and those residents using landlines may not have working phones. The emergency generator is powering the elevators, hallways and common areas. The Housing Authority is aware of the problem and will need to connect a generator to power the apartments. The work to connect the generator will start some time tomorrow (Saturday)," DaSilva told all 5 City Council members. A 500 KW generator is needed.

Ward 2 councilwoman Anna Sousa, a Registered Nurse, asked about "residents who have medical equipment that needs to be hooked up to electricity. What can we do in the interim?" asked Sousa. "Staff is going door to door, the hallways and elevators have electricity and the fire department has responded to assess the situation," DaSilva replied. DaSilva told the council that a repair company, Amity Electric, will "have to replace the entire service from the transformer to the building. It's a major project." DaSilva and council members stayed in contact throughout the late evening Friday.

National Grid was called but determined that the problem was not with their equipment and couldn't help until local repairs are made. Amity Electric of Wyoming, RI responded. "Upon arrival it was discovered that the underground feeder from the transformer to the building main service had detonated underground," company spokesperson Jeff Vaillancourt told Mayor DaSilva. The equipment and wiring involved is owned by the City and not National Grid.

"Does this (accident) happen often," DaSilva asked Vaillancourt. "Yes, it was basically a short circuit, wires detonated after time. This wiring method is probably over 50 years old," added Vaillancourt. "It happens, this will be the third one that we've done inNew England this summer," he said.

East Providence Housing Authority Chairman Dick Smith was also on the scene. "It's a tough job and luckily everything fell into place on a holiday weekend. Our main concern is the safety of the residents," said Smith. "At least there is full power to the building for now," said Smith.

The company will supply a temporary power generator in the interim as they come back to permanently fix the problem. The process can take several days. "While things seem to be under control for now, I'm asking those who have friends or family who reside in one of the apartments and you are unable to reach them please consider stopping by to check in on them," said Mayor DaSilva. "The cellular tower atop the building is also out of order contributing to poor cellular service in the area. I appreciate everyone's help on short notice on a holiday weekend and in an emergency situation," added DaSilva.

Harbor View Manor, constructed in 1966, consists of 131 units in its 9 story structure. There are 25 efficiency units, 97 one bedroom units and 9 two bedroom units. It is serviced by two elevators and two stairways. A community room provides access to tenant organized activities such as bingo, and craft classes. There is a kitchen on site, where lunch, provided by the Ocean State Senior Dining Program, is served during the week. At this location you will also find a convenient tenant run store and coffee shop. The building sits just behind the East Bay Bike Path and in close walking distance to Riverside Square's Pizza and Ice Cream shops, auto repair, a bus line, the Bike Path, and other small businesses. The City is currently in the beginning of a new Riverside Square revitalization effort.

"Thank you Jeff Vaillancourt of Amity Electric for getting your team out on this project and restoring electricity to the residents of Harbor View Manor. And a nice job by the EP Housing Authority getting on this emergency situation and resolving it quickly," said a relieved Mayor DaSilva.


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