Fire, explosions cause evacuations at Lynn bank
LYNN, Mass. (WHDH) -- A transformer fire caused the evacuation of Eastern Bank’s operations center in Lynn and a brief disruption to some bank services Monday morning.
Nearly 500 people were evacuated from the multistory building at 195 Market Street just after 10 a.m. The building resumed partial operations by 2 p.m.
Soon after the first fire trucks arrived, there was a series of loud pops.
“About 30 of them, yeah. Everyone went running. It was kind of a scary scene and it sounded like someone was setting off fireworks and you can see the fire coming out of it and the firefighters kinda ran outside,” said Heather Mateo, evacuated employee.
The fire chief says National Grid was on site doing some work. A new electrical transformer had been installed recently and crews were here to take the old one out, but something went wrong.
“For some reason there was still a feed into the transformer and it caused an arch, a series of archs, which people described as an explosion,” Chief James McDonald, Lynn Fire Department.
A man who works in the cafeteria took pictures after he rushed out of the building. He didn't know what to think.
“It was a little hectic moment to be honest with you, running around like a race, but we’re all safe, everybody’s over at the college. We're gonna head home now,” said Russell Spinney.
Hundreds of evacuated Eastern Bank employees who had to wait across the street at North Shore Community College's gym finally got to go back inside to their work stations at about 2 p.m., four hours after the emergency sent them scurrying out.
The bank gave nonessential personnel the option of going home if they found the smoky smell to be just too much.
“Customer impact was very limited. Calls to our 1-800-eastern were unanswered. However, calls made to our 99 branches were received,” said Andy Ravens.
There was one minor injury. A woman twisted her ankle trying to evacuate.