An incident at an AEP Southwestern Electric Power Co. substation near the Eastman Chemical Co. plant in Longview is said to be the cause of widespread and increasing power outages in the area, according to the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management.

Meanwhile, flames inside and smoke seen rising from inside the Eastman grounds is mainly from flaring that's part of the shutdown process for the company's plants, which was occurring because of the SWEPCO outages, said Mark Bogle, Eastman vice president and general manager of the plant.

By 7 p.m., nearly 81,000 customers were impacted by the outages.

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Randy Ferguson, Kristen Barton, Jo Lee Ferguson and Ric Brack contributed to this report. 

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