DWP Still Investigating Valley Transformer Explosion


More than 140,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were left without power for hours on one of the hottest nights of the week.

There was an explosion in a plant in Northridge, causing a fire that burned for hours knocking out power to traffic lights, elevators and other residential areas.

DWP officials say businesses and residents in Northridge, Winnetka, Reseda, Lake Balboa, Tarzana, North Hills, Granada Hills, Chatsworth, West Hills, Canoga Park and Woodland Hills were effected.

The initial blast happened sometime before 8 at night and was at the peak of a heat wave where many parts of the valley reached 100 degrees. 

Hours later, 94,000 people were still without power during a night where temps were at a near constant 86 degrees even at midnight.

DWP spokesman Michael Ventre says the rest of the customers got power back by 8 a.m. Sunday and said this was a "significant outage."

Officials say it's unclear whether the blast came from people over using their electricity due to the heat wave or was it due to the city's crumbing infrastructure. 

LA Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey says firefighters arrived to the scene to see a vat with over 60,000 gallons of mineral oil (used as a cooling agent for electrical equipment) on fire.

“These were fierce flames, with smoke towering more than 300 feet into the sky.” 

Humphrey says no one was injured and a mechanical failure related to cooling equipment might have caused the initial explosion but the investigation is ongoing.


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