Blackout in Paitilla and Bella Vista
PANAMA. A pipeline ruptured by builders caused the collapsed of a sidewalk, the destruction of an electricity transformer and left part...
PANAMA. A pipeline ruptured by builders caused the collapsed of a sidewalk, the destruction of an electricity transformer and left parts of Bella Vista, Paitilla and Marbella, without water and electricity.
The incident occurred when workers who are building the Bay Star Tower, a skyscraper that will have 76 floors, cracked a water line, causing water to accumulate and weakening the foundation of the sidewalk, which in turn caused the collapse of a wall destroying an electricity transformer and severing fiber optic lines.
According to one of the workers the problem started on Tuesday afternoon and although the company, Bay Star S.A. notified the National Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN) of the damage, it postponed the repair works until 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
During the night the water accumulated causing the collapse of the sidewalk at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Different sectors in Bella Vista, Paitilla and Marbella were out of water or electricity starting shortly before 6 a.m.
The worker said that it was lucky that the collapse happened so early in the morning, otherwise people could have been injured or killed.
Part of the Aquilino De la Guardia road where the construction site is located was closed, as well as three lanes of Balboa Avenue, causing havoc for commuters during the rush hour and throughout the morning.
A spokeswoman of the IDAAN, Hilda Estrada said that a 16 inches pipe was fractured and currently the institute is installing two valves to be able to provide water to the affected areas.
IDAAN managed to restore the water supply for Calle 50 and Marbella, late Wednesday morning.
Judy Meana, of the electricity company Union Fenosa said the damage suffered by the transformer was very serious and six circuits have been affected. Meana said that Union Fenosa would fix the damage as soon as possible, but it is so serious that it would take some time to re-establish the power supply to the sectors of Obarrio, Calidonia, Paitilla and Balboa Avenue.
The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) said that the accident did not affect the Coastal Strip, because it happened on the other side of the road.
The MOP Maintenance Director, Jorge Pitalua said that a meeting is going to take place with the engineers in charge of the Bay Star building to evaluate the incident and adjudicate responsibilities for the damages.
Investigators of the IDAAN, Union Fenosa, the Ministry of Public Works and the Labor Ministry were on the site trying to find out the causes and why the damage was so severe.