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Gabriel's reopens in Rotterdam after electrical damage

Gabriel's reopens in Rotterdam after electrical damage

Situation could have been a lot worse — no flames broke out as wires arced
Gabriel's reopens in Rotterdam after electrical damage
Gabriel’s Supermarket on Curry Road in Rotterdam is pictured.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ROTTERDAM — The Gabriel’s Supermarket on Curry Road reopened Tuesday, a week after an electrical malfunction that could have been disastrous.

The main wires coming into the store malfunctioned June 17, destroying a number of electronic devices and leaving the coolers without power, owner Rudy Gabriele said Tuesday. But they didn’t spark a fire.

More good luck followed, along with a lot of support from customers on social media. Repairs took a week to complete.

“We’re open, we’re back,” Gabriele said Tuesday afternoon.

He was asleep around 1 a.m. June 17 when the burglar alarm was activated, and drove to the store to meet responding police officers. No burglars were there, and some of the lights still worked. The scope and cause of the problem wasn’t apparent until daybreak, when employees found error messages and electrical devices were working incorrectly or not at all.

“These wires arced,” Gabriele said. “That’s why we’re lucky we didn’t lose the store.”

The flames not spreading beyond the wires was the first lucky break. The second came as the supermarket’s food supplier pulled up to make a delivery. 

An employee told him the store couldn’t accept it — the refrigeration system was knocked out and they were scrambling to get a refrigerated trailer so they could keep their perishable merchandise from spoiling.

Gabriel’s is the last stop on this run, the driver said — take my trailer.

The final silver lining in a bad situation: Repairs went well.

“Our electrician came right away on a Monday,” Gabriele said. 

The electrician’s crew dug up the fried electric service wires by hand so they wouldn’t have to wait for all the underground utilities to be mapped out, as they would if using excavation equipment.

“We had to put a whole new service into the store,” Gabriele said.

As of Tuesday, he hadn’t received a final verdict on why the wires arced.

The important thing was the store itself sustained no damage when the wires failed.

Gabriele’s father and grandfather opened their Rotterdam supermarket in 1956. The family added the second location, in Scotia, which opened in 1986. 

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