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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Manhattan, Many Cities Experiencing Blackouts

Aired August 14, 2003 - 15:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: You're following breaking news here. I'm Kyra Phillips in the CNN Center in Atlanta still trying to figure out why blackouts are taking place all across the northeast, New York City, Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, Ottawa. We can tell you power outages have struck all of these areas.
At first we heard about it in Midtown Manhattan and on Wall Street. Then parts of Brooklyn and Westchester County, Rockland County, also were affected. Now as the minutes tick by at 4:29 Eastern time, we can tell you blackouts in Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio, Toronto and Ottawa.

On the phone with us now, our Jason Carroll. He's in New York. Jason, can you kind of take us back from when this first happened? Were you in the newsroom and all of a sudden everything just went out?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It was just after 4:00 here in the news room at the CNN bureau in New York City up on the 21st floor when all of a sudden the power just simply went out, went to black.

We went out to look out the window to see if it first just was our building or several others and saw immediately that it was in fact other buildings as well. And since then information has been coming in.

We're now being told that power is out at all three major airports, Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airport, power out there. The Long Island Railroad, which is the train service that services many of the commuters here in New York City to the outlying areas, the trains are no longer running there as well.

Power out at the United Nations. Power out Downtown New York, at Wall Street, at City Hall, power was out, but we're now told that they're running on generators. Power out on the Upper Side, on the east side. We have gotten in touch with the New York City Police Department. Obviously they say they're being bombarded with calls from people who are obviously concerned, wanting to know what's going on. They're trying to sort it out, trying to find out exactly what has happened.

We do know that there is or has been some sort of a fire at a transformer, a Con Edison transformer on 14th Street. So perhaps that has something to do with the power outage here. I can tell you just from looking out my window here on the 21st floor, down on the streets of Manhattan, where our Maria Hinojosa is down there, thousands of people out on the street there coming out of buildings.

Obviously anyone who knows Manhattan knows that this is a city made up of skyscrapers obviously a number of people are caught in elevators. We know that some of our coworkers are trapped in elevators at this point, calling from their cell phones trying to get information in terms of what exactly is going on.

It is quite a scene to look out the window and see what it a busy time anyway during rush hour and to see, again, literally thousands of people wandering on the streets. Everyone probably asking the same question, why did the power go out, and when is it likely that it will come back on?

PHILLIPS: All right. Jason, I'm going to ask you to just stand by there with us. Hold tight.

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