The Latest: Cause of transmission fires still unknown

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Transmission Fire

In this photo provided by WKOW-TV one of two fires as power substations burns in Madison, Wis., knocking out power to more than 11,000 customers on what is promising to be a sweltering day. (WKOW-TV via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on power station fires that left thousands without electricity on a hot day in Madison (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Utility officials say they have not yet identified the cause of a pair of blasts that knocked out electricity to about 13,000 customers.

Madison Gas and Electric and American Transmission Co. said heat was ruled out as a potential cause. American Transmission Co. Vice President Paul Roehr says officials are looking at possible mechanical issues.

Power had been restored to nearly everyone by Friday evening, though there were fluctuations in numbers as power was coming back on.

In a Friday afternoon statement, Madison officials said the fire department had to use a foam that's often associated with contaminants known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The city says it's not clear whether the foam used actually contained PFAS, but it is being tested.

Steps were taken to contain the spread of foam and water, and a cleanup process is underway.

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3:45 p.m.

Power has been restored to nearly everyone in Wisconsin's capital city after a pair of blasts knocked out electricity to about 13,000 customers on the hottest day of the year.

Madison Gas and Electric reported late Friday afternoon that only two people were still without power after the blasts at two different transmission stations sent thick, dark plumes of smoke high in the air. No injuries were reported.

Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency and made the National Guard available if necessary.

The state Capitol, government buildings and many businesses were closed because of the power outage, which came on the hottest day of the year with temperatures in the mid-90s.

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2 p.m.

Wisconsin's governor has declared a state of emergency in Madison and surrounding Dane County after fires at two transmission stations knocked out power to more than 11,000 customers.

The declaration activates the National Guard to help local authorities in keeping people safe, as the area is experiencing extremely hot weather.

Gov. Tony Evers says in a statement that he is grateful no one has been injured. All state agencies are directed to provide assistance to keep people safe.

Authorities don't yet know what caused Madison Gas and Electric's main power center to explode and erupt in fire Friday morning. A second substation near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus also caught fire.

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11:40 a.m.

All state court system offices in downtown Madison have closed because of fires at two transmission stations that left more than 11,000 customers without power.

Director of State Courts Randy Koschnick said Friday the closures include administrative offices and the clerks of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Koschnick anticipated the offices would reopen Monday.

The power outage has also affected public access to some court system electronic services, including the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website and electronic filing in some counties.

The loss of power caused other closures as well, including the State Capitol, the City-County building and the state Department of Health Services.

Authorities don't yet know what caused Madison Gas and Electric's main power center to explode and erupt in fire Friday morning. A second substation near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus also caught fire.

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10:50 a.m.

Fires at two transmission stations have knocked out power to more than 11,000 customers and caused the State Capitol and the City-County building to close.

Police are directing traffic in downtown Madison because traffic lights are not working.

Public Health Madison and Dane County has advised all businesses that don't have emergency backup power sources to close until power is restored. Madison Gas and Electric spokeswoman Kaya Freiman says there is no timetable for restoration of service.

An explosion and fire at the utility's main power enter sent a plume of thick, black smoke over the city about 7:40 a.m. Friday. A second fire at a substation near the University of Wisconsin-Madison prompted the evacuation of several buildings on campus.

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9:27 a.m.

Fires at two power substations in Wisconsin's capital have knocked out power to more than 11,000 customers on what is promising to be a sweltering day.

An explosion and fire at the Madison Gas and Electric main power center sent a plume of thick, black smoke over Madison's east side about 7:40 a.m. Friday. A second fire at a substation near the University of Wisconsin-Madison prompted the evacuation of Ogg and Smith Halls and the UW Safety Building. Shelter is available at the Kohl Center on campus.

There have been no immediate reports of injuries, but residents now with no access to air conditioning should be on alert. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area Friday, with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity.