Power restored after widespread LA outage

2017-07-09 20:29
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Los Angeles - Electricity was restored on Sunday to tens of thousands of customers who lost service when a power station in suburban Los Angeles caught fire amid a blistering heat wave.

The LA Department of Water and Power said repairs continue, but the outage ended by mid-morning.

Crews worked through the night to fix conductors, circuit breakers and transformers damaged in the blaze. The fire's cause is under investigation.

At its height, the outage Saturday evening affected 140 000 customers in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Cooling centres were opened for residents left without air conditioning.

The fire at the station in the Northridge/Reseda area involved equipment that carries high-voltage electricity and distributes it at lower voltages, the department said.

The department shut off power to the station as a precautionary move, and began restoring service once the flames were out.

The outage came as much of California baked in heat that broke records. A record that stood 131 years in Los Angeles was snapped when the temperature spiked at 36.7°C downtown.

Shortly after the blaze broke out, crews found a huge container of mineral oil that is used to cool electrical equipment on fire, Fire Department spokesperson Brian Humphrey said.

"These were fierce flames, with smoke towering more than 90m into the sky," he told the Los Angeles Times.

No one was injured.

Firefighters rescued people who were stranded in elevators, Humphrey said.


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