Maxwell substation offline following lightning strike (GALLERY)

Bluewater Power's Maxwell Street substation. Google street view.

Bluewater Power is bypassing its substation on Maxwell Street, just east of Indian Road, after a direct lightning strike in Wednesday’s storm caused thousands of dollars in damage.

President and CEO Janice McMichael Dennis said the impact was “explosive” and pushed up ceiling tiles, caused burning internally and smoke.

“The equipment that took the impact was absolutely black, it’s not supposed to be black, so there was some serious damage there,” said McMichael-Dennis. “We don’t believe there was actually a fire, but we did have significant smoke. At one point we had smoke billowing out and our fine friends at Sarnia Fire and Rescue did their efficient service to help us out there.”

While a damage estimate has not been determined, McMichael-Dennis said the equipment is not salvageable and the substation will be offline for a while.

About 5,000 Bluewater Power customers lost electricity at the peak of Wednesday’s storm.

The local utility had most electricity restored by 2 a.m. Thursday, while Hydro One was still dealing with some scattered outages in the morning.