ELYRIA — A backup generator is one of those things you want to have when you need it.
They come in handy during inclement weather, like last week’s winter storm that at its peak knocked out electricity to thousands in Lorain County including Elyria’s fire station No. 3 on Lorain Boulevard. There, a backup generator went offline Thursday after the main circuit system attached to the generator died — preventing the generator from firing up when the building lost power.
Fire Chief Rich Benton said the station’s crew was on Clark Street putting out a fire at a business when they returned to a dark and closed-up station. They couldn’t get the doors open and used battery-powered portable radios and flashlights.
A quick fix restored power to about one-third of the building, and the city’s electrician immediately got to work getting the generator back on line.
Power was out for several hours and provided a good lesson in emergency planning and the need for a generator, which is why $30,000 of this year’s budget will go toward buying a diesel-powered unit for the North Abbe Road station that was built in 1967 without one.
Benton said he doesn’t know why the station was built without the back-up unit, but he is happy to finally get one.
“We attempted to purchase it in the past, but couldn’t afford it in the budget until now,” he said. “With no generator, they are stuck with flashlights and manually pulling the doors up.”