QUEENS — A temporary power outage at Rochdale Village caused evacuations and injuries and left residents in at least 20 buildings without power Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said.
The loss of electricity threw hundreds of residents' afternoon into chaos, stranding about 50 people in elevators and on construction scaffolding, after the apartment complex's private power plant malfunctioned at 2:36 p.m., according to the FDNY. Power returned about 6 p.m., residents said.
Kim Bevo, 49, said emergency workers had to carry her 71-year-old mother, Delores Judson, down six flights of stairs when her oxygen tank, which was plugged into the wall, stopped working after the power outage.
"It’s surprising and it’s inconvenient because I have my mom to take care of," Bevo said about the outage. "I’m a little shaken."
Bevo added that her mother was not seriously injured.
Construction workers on the scaffoldings repairing the buildings were brought down safely, police said. Aside from Judson, three other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Patrick Crisci, who lives on the first floor at 172-30 133rd Ave., said there were no emergency lights in the hallways of his 13-story building to help the development's large elderly population out of the building.
"I came down with my bic lighter. I feel bad for elderly who live in this building, they can’t see in the hallway,” Crisci, 60, told DNAinfo New York.
"Maintenance is going door to door to check on people with oxygen [tanks], they're knocking on the door making sure they’re okay," he said.
The Rochdale Village website said the 21 megawatt facility “generates all the electrical power, heating, air-conditioning and domestic hot water services for the entire residential development and two shopping malls.”
The plant is not connected to any outside utility company, the website also said.
Joan Bell, 73, a retired security dispatcher for the complex, who has lived in Rochdale since 1971 said she lives on the 11th floor and would have to wait for the power to come back on before she could go home.
There was no immediate information on when the power would be restored.
Calls to Rochdale Village management were not immediately returned.
"I am shocked, this is the first time I'm ever experiencing it in the day," Bell said. "I hope that lights come back soon and nobody is hurt."