Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Downtown Santa Barbara hit with power outage


A power outage hit downtown Santa Barbara yesterday morning, killing electricity to large businesses and homes for several hours until workers repaired damaged power lines.
Authorities said the outage, which occurred at 10 a.m. in the area of State and Gutierrez streets, might have been an act of nature.

“They think the culprit may have been a bird,” Southern California Edison spokeswoman Jane Brown said. “We don’t have absolute confirmation on that.”
Firefighters received a call that a transformer had exploded in the 100 block of West Gutierrez Street, but only found a blown insulator that had fallen from the power lines and damaged a vehicle below, City Battalion Chief Chris Blair said.
Brown said approximately 675 customers were initially affected. However, the outage only impacted three-phase power — electricity used by large businesses for the most part. Power to single-phase customers, mostly small businesses and homes, may have remained.
By 11:30 a.m., workers had reduced the number of impacted customers to 122 and had the remaining issues fixed by 2:15 p.m.
Firefighters responded to a jewelry store and a clothing store after receiving reports of smoke odor that turned out to be equipment or circuits that shorted out due to the power outage, Blair said. Traffic signals along Chapala and De la Vina streets were also down.

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