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Power Outage Causes Chaos, Ingenuity

January 7, 1992

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A rush-hour power blackout in downtown Washington produced snarls, ingenuity and a wave of good humor.

John Kentoski, a businessman who works in a nearby office building, stood in the middle of the main downtown artery, K Street, directing traffic.

″Someone had to do it,″ said Kentoski, dressed in a suit and waving a flashlight he had bought at the Radio Shack on the corner. ″It’s a mess.″

He said he had no previous experience directing traffic.

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Across the street a bar, Quigley’s, was filled to capacity upstairs and down as employees mixed and served drinks by candle and flashlight.

″This is the biggest Monday happy hour ever,″ said bartender Patrick Kelledy. ″The taps still work, and we open the cash register with a key. What more do we need.?″

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At nearby Reiter’s Bookstore, customers wanting to pick up books they had ordered knocked on a closed door with a sign saying ″Closed - Power Outage.″

″The cash register doesn’t work. How would you pay for it?″ asked a clerk.

″With cash,″ a customer replied.

″We still can’t do it,″ the clerk concluded.

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A fireman on his sixth call for people stuck in elevators predicted there might be a baby boom nine months from now.

″No lights - You think about it,″ he said.

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A hot dog stand at a busy intersection was doing brisk business as pedestrians clustered around the vendor’s battery operated lights.

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