‘It was spooky’: Duke Energy substation fire lights up sky

ANDERSON TWP., Hamilton County — Strange lights that lit up the skies for miles around Anderson Township Tuesday came from a fire that started inside a Duke Energy substation.

Duke Energy said the incident, which happened at around 7:30 p.m., is a result of animal damage. Residents in the area captured photos and videos of fire and smoke at the electrical substation on the intersection of Beechmont Avenue and Markley Road.

Anderson Twp. firefighters originally responded to the scene and said the area was unsafe to be near. The public was asked to stay clear.

Melanie Scheel described it as a “throbbing” explosion. Scheel owns Gloss Salon, which sits in the plaza directly next to the substation, and said she was working on a client’s hair when the fire sparked.

“We could hear it before we could see it,” she said. “We looked out into the parking lot, and we could see just bright, flashing lights. “It didn’t even look like a fire.”

Scheel’s receptionist Hallie Thibodeau also mentioned what she described as a “Stranger Things” occurrence. She said the electric car belonging to one of the employees took on a life of its own.

“The lights were just on,” she said. “It was completely powered off, but the headlights just turned on. It was spooky.”

Stanley Howard described a similar phenomenon.

“My phone was actually freezing up and the only thing that was working was my camera app so I figured I’d just jump on there (and start filming),” said Howard, who works as the manager at Pelican’s Reef restaurant.

The lights were reported as far north as Mason, and were visible from Cincinnati, too.

More than 2,000 people were without power for a short time. According to Duke Energy’s outage map, all of the power has been restored to nearby residents and businesses.

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