All northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 101 near Carpinteria were closed for about an hour Friday as crews worked to put out a power pole fire near the freeway, and the same lanes were set to be closed for further repairs overnight, according to the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.
A 9-1-1 call came into dispatch at 9:15 a.m. with a report of arcing wires and fire on a power pole at the corner of Toro Canyon Road and Via Real, which created a threat to nearby northbound Highway 101 lanes, Fire Battalion Chief Mike Gallagher said.
Two northbound and two southbound lanes at Padaro/Santa Claus Lane were closed for about an hour as firefighters, California Highway Patrol and Southern California Edison crews worked to put out the blaze and remedy the electrical issue, Gallagher said.
Traffic was diverted to Foothill Road and other avenues, and all lanes of the freeway reopened by 11:15 a.m., he said.
“If it burned through and fell on the highway, it would have been a potential safety threat,” Gallagher said. “Public safety was No. 1. It was a big inconvenience to shut down 101, but it was the absolute right call to make.”
He said the fire seemed to be electrical in nature, but a more exact cause was not initially confirmed.
Late Friday afternoon, Caltrans announced that all Highway 101 lanes at Padaro/Santa Claus Lane would be closed again for a 20-30 minute period sometime between 11:55 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday so Southern California Edison crews could repair power poles and electrical lines damaged during the fire.
Local traffic was encouraged to take alternate routes during the temporary closure.