Island-Wide Power Outage Hits Puerto Rico dennisvdw/iStock/Thinkstock

Island-Wide Power Outage Hits Puerto Rico

The Electric Power Authority said investigators were trying to determine what caused a fire at a power plant.

Repair crews worked through the night trying to restore electricity to Puerto Rico's 3.5 million people early this morning after a fire at a power plant blacked out the entire U.S. territory.

The Electric Power Authority said investigators were trying to determine what caused the fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a power plant in southern Puerto Rico that serves a majority of customers on the island, according to an Associated Press report. The fire began at a switch and caused two transmission lines of 230,000 V each to fail.

The outage was the latest hit for Puerto Rico, which has been in an economic crisis for a decade, and whose government has warned it is running out of money as it seeks to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt, the AP reported.

It was unclear how much damage the fire caused or where the power company would obtain the money to repair or buy new equipment. The utility is struggling with a $9 billion debt that it hopes to restructure as it faces numerous corruption allegations. Company officials have said they are seeking more revenue to update what they say is outdated equipment.

The governor, however, said that no amount of money or maintenance would have prevented the fire. He said the switch where the fire began had received proper maintenance.

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