A power outage immersed two New Haven blocks in darkness for about four hours Monday evening when a squirrel ran into a transmitter near the corner of Park and Chapel Streets.

The transmitter blew at around 5:40 p.m., and full power was restored by 9:30 p.m. A recording on the hotline for United Illuminating Company, the power company whose transmitter went down, said the outage affected customers on Park Street between Crown and Elm Streets as well as points northwest of Park. No buildings on the Yale campus were affected by the blackout but some students living off campus lost power.

Downtown Ambassador Eddie Freeman, a member of the crew of official hospitality workers who aid shoppers and visitors to the city, estimated the extent of the blackout at “two solid blocks.”

United Illuminating Company’s recorded message said service was partially restored by 6:53 p.m. The message asked customers to be patient, as crews had to be called back to work from their homes.

Yale Police Sgt. Jay Jones said the disruption was minimal and no crimes were reported.

“We had a couple of traffic posts, and that was it,” Jones said. “It wasn’t too widespread, just two or three streets.”

But people living and working on off-Broadway properties, including many Yale students, said they felt flustered and inconvenienced.

“There were all these people wandering around and not knowing what to do,” Camille Assaf DRA ’04 said. “We are so dependent on electricity.”

Erin Hoppin ’04 said she felt unsafe walking around her neighborhood in the dark. She added that she has a paper to write and a midterm to study for, so the blackout “disrupts my life a little bit.”

Megie Okumura, a resident physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital, said she and her friends wanted to go to Scoozi Trattoria & Wine Bar for half-price wine night, but the blackout foiled their plans. Okumura said the situation was far from being a crisis.

“Oh, there are no [traffic] signals. Great. Anarchy,” Okumura said.

Booktrader Cafe owner Lauren Mollow said she felt the blackout would negatively affect business, but she was fairly unconcerned about the outage. Mollow said she could not sell espresso drinks during the outage, and she threw away meat and other refrigerated items. She planned to find flashlights, then sit and wait.

“I’m not too scared,” Mollow’s 4-year-old daughter Skyler Duda said during the blackout.

Mollow continued to operate the cafe before closing its doors two hours early around 7 p.m. She said one customer continued to sit and read in the atrium even after it became dark outside.

“I think people rise to the occasion usually for things like that,” Mollow said. “We’ll be back to our normal thing tomorrow.”

— Staff Reporter Will Sullivan contributed to this report.

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