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Fire closes businesses at Cambridge shopping center

Workers from Eversource in Massachusetts looked at equipment in the rear of the Fresh Pond Mall on Saturday.
Workers from Eversource in Massachusetts looked at equipment in the rear of the Fresh Pond Mall on Saturday.(Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

CAMBRIDGE — A transformer fire at the Fresh Pond Mall caused electrical outages and prevented numerous businesses from opening Saturday morning, according to Cambridge fire officials. Some businesses reopened later in the day.

No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, which was reported at 6:21 a.m., said Cambridge assistant fire chief Gerard Mahoney in a statement.

Upon arrival at the shopping center on Alewife Brook Parkway, “firefighters encountered a heavy volume of fire coming from an electrical transformer located behind the TJ Maxx store in the same shopping complex,” Mahoney said.

It took firefighters a little over an hour to extinguish the fire, he said.

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“The fire was contained to the electrical equipment with minor exterior damage to the rear of the building,” said Mahoney. “Three automobiles parked adjacent to the transformer were also damaged.”

In back of the plaza, white foam sprayed by firefighters was blowing in the wind like confetti, said Lee Goodner, who works at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, which is next to Whole Foods in the plaza.

At 9 a.m, the lights at TJ Maxx and a handful of other stores in the plaza were still out. A TJ Maxx worker declined to comment on the fire or when the business would be able to reopen.

Lights were on by 9 a.m. at the Whole Foods next to TJ Maxx, but a small crowd of customers was being turned away.

“There’s been an electrical fire, and it will be at least a couple hours before we’re open,” said a Whole Foods employee.

“I have a cake to pick up,” said one man standing outside Whole Foods. “No cake?”

“No cake, I’m so sorry,” said the employee.

“Don’t worry, I understand,” said the man. “A fire’s a fire.”

Most stores would be without power for most of the day, according to a statement by Cambridge fire around 1 p.m.

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The Whole Foods reopened in the late afternoon, said a worker who answered the phone around 5 p.m. Nobody answered the phone at TJ Maxx.


Nicole Fleming can be reached at nicole.fleming@globe.com.