Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 11:05 pm | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

Transformer, Power Pole Fire in Santa Barbara Causes Outages

Southern California Edison turns off power to impacted high-voltage lines, causing temporary outage for 1,300 customers

A transformer and utility pole fire threatened high-voltage power lines near a Southern California Edison substation in Santa Barbara Thursday. Click to view larger
A transformer and utility pole fire threatened high-voltage power lines near a Southern California Edison substation in Santa Barbara Thursday.  (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

Southern California Edison crews turned off power to several high-voltage lines after a transformer and utility pole fire in Santa Barbara Thursday evening, causing temporary power outages to about 1,300 customers. 

The fire was first reported around 4:30 p.m. and it was still burning the pole an hour later — so the Santa Barbara City Fire Department worried the high-voltage lines could drop to the ground. 

The pole is at the corner of Laguna and Gutierrez streets, which is close to the Southern California Edison substation on Gutierrez Street. 

Both the transformer and utility pole crossbars (which supports the transformer and lines) were smoldering from the fire, and the potential threat was that the fire burned through and caused the energized power lines to drop to the ground, said City Fire Battalion Chief Mike de Ponce. 

"We're trying to get Edison out here in an expedited manner to at least shut down power to these high voltage lines," he said. 

A Southern California Edison crew responded to the scene around 5:25 p.m. and had turned off two of the three high-voltage lines on the impacted pole as of 6 p.m.  

The top power line on the impacted pole is 16,000 volts and the two lines below it are 4,000-volt lines, de Ponce said. 

As of 6:30 p.m., there was an outage to 1,315 customers since the crew had to shut power to the impacted lines, Southern California Edison spokesman Robert Villegas said. 

A transformer and utility pole fire threatened power lines in Santa Barbara Thursday. Click to view larger
A transformer and utility pole fire threatened power lines in Santa Barbara Thursday.  (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

The crew was working to investigate the cause, assess the damage and start repairs, he said.

The first focus was to restore service to as many customers as possible. Villegas said the company hoped to isolate the problem and get power back by 7 p.m. for some customers, likely the ones farther away from the damaged equipment. 

City Fire closed nearby roads and blocked all cars and pedestrians from entering the area while there were energized lines, and then road closures may stay in effect while Southern California Edison crews work on repairs. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Fire and power company crews responded to the scene of a transformer and utility pole fire in Santa Barbara Thursday. Click to view larger
Fire and power company crews responded to the scene of a transformer and utility pole fire in Santa Barbara Thursday.  (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

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