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Fast-food restaurants, retailers lose power Tuesday

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By Jenny Hartley

Taco Bell addicts had to go without their Burrito Supremes and crunchy tacos at the worst time on Tuesday - right in the middle of lunch hour.

About 1 p.m. Tuesday, Taco Bell employees stood outside in the parking lot, waving customers away from the popular restaurant. An employee said the power had flickered off and on, then went out for a while. The neon drive-through sign in the restaurant window was dark.

Power flickered at The Lancaster News on White Street, but electricity was off at the office for only a few seconds at most.

A Kmart manager said the store lost power and closed temporarily Tuesday.

Walmart also lost power and was forced to close for a short period Tuesday.

At the usually crowded Wendy's at lunch time, the drive-through was empty, probably fooling some customers into thinking they'd be in and out of the restaurant in no time. But the line was empty because the restaurant had no power.

Fortunately for those looking for a burger fix, Burger King across the street was open and crowded, as it has been since its reopening last week.

Duke Energy spokesman Rick Jiran said someone was "Bush hogging" (cutting grass with a tractor) on Woodland Drive on Tuesday. The machine cut a guide wire, which swung up and hit a primary wire, cutting the power to businesses like Wal-Mart, Wendy's, Kmart and Taco Bell.

"We didn't see it happen, but Bush Hogging was occurring in the area," Jiran said.

About 30 customers were affected, Jiran said. A power company crew had the lights back on about an hour later.

"Not good timing for that strip – right in the middle of lunch," Jiran said. "We apologize for any inconvenience."Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151