Explosion Knocks Out San Fernando Valley Power


(Photo: Eric Leonard)

An electrical transformer exploded and burned at a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power station in Northridge late Saturday -- knocking out power over at least 10 square miles in the San Fernando Valley.

The explosion was reported just before 7:00 p.m. at the DWP’s Receiving Station “J” on Parthenia St. near Wilbur Ave., according to the L.A. City Fire Department.

It destroyed at least one large transformer and ignited a tank of mineral oil, used to cool transformers at the site.

(Photo: Eric Leonard)

“This is really challenging, to extinguish a fire in a distribution center that powers most of the Valley,” said Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Butler.

Traffic and street lights were knocked out south of the 118 Freeway between Topanga Canyon and Reseda Blvd., officials said, and numerous traffic accidents were reported at major intersections.

The Department of Water and Power said the outage was expansive in part because high voltage power lines that supplied the station had to be shut down as a precaution in order to protect the firefighters.

About 50,000 customers’ power was restored around 10:00 p.m., the DWP said.

Smoke from the transformer fire hung over the San Fernando Valley at sunset. (Photo: Eric Leonard)


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