both ends just before noon on Friday, starting fires at both ends. At
the same time, three electrical substations that provide service to
customers experienced malfunctions, cutting the power of
approximately 4,000 customers.
City officials suspect lightning caused the problems.
"It looked like two circles of blue lights, which kind of
exploded," said Sheryl Smith, a La Crescenta resident who was driving
along Honolulu Avenue when she saw a transformer explode at the
Montrose substation. "Everybody slowed down. All of the traffic
signals went out."
Three engine companies responded to fires at power transformers,
with no injuries and minor structural damage, Glendale Fire Capt.
Bill Lynch said. A pigeon coop at Vista Drive and Mountain Street
suffered a few hundred dollars worth of damage, Lynch said.
Glendale Water and Power crews scrambled to solve the problem and
restore power, routing power through alternate lines.
"What happened today, a transmission line burning down, hasn't
happened in 32 years since I've been here," said Frank Coronado,
Glendale Water and Power's power line supervisor. "All we know, we
got calls from the office that we had a problem with this line. We
come up here and that baby was going off bad. It burned transformers,
it burned wires."
Dunsmore Elementary School lost power for about three hours,
forcing teachers to move some classes into rooms with natural light.
"Fortunately, the back windows, when opened, let in enough light
so the kids could see," Principal Mary La Masa said. "Teachers read
their books near the windows."
By 4:15 p.m., electrical service had been restored to most of the
city, according to Ramon Abueg, Glendale Water and Power's principal
electrical engineer. A small area near the Verdugo Mountains still
had no power because of downed power lines in their area, Abueg said.
Brand Library, which is near the Bel Aire substation, remained in
the dark late Friday, and library officials said the branch will be
closed Saturday and Sunday because of the power outage.
Repair crews were slowed by dangerous wires, Abueg said.