Northridge Transformer Explosion Related to Heat

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said the transformer explosion and fire at a receiving station in Northridge Saturday was likely caused by extremely high electrical demands because of high temperatures.

“We are investigating the cause, we don’t know the exact reason at this point in time,” DWP General Manager David Wright told KFI NEWS Monday.

The explosion and fire at the station on Parthenia Street near Wilbur Avenue knocked out power for about 140,000 customers across more than 10 square miles of the San Fernando Valley just before 7:00 p.m. Saturday, one of the hottest days on record.

Power was restored by Sunday morning.

Wright said it appeared a tank of mineral oil used to cool electrical equipment caught fire and exploded, destroying a transformer, “the size of a very large truck.”

A temporary replacement unit was installed while the damaged units were being cleared and repairs made.

Wright said Saturday’s incident appeared isolated. 

The last time there was a fire in a receiving station was about 12 years ago.

He appealed again for DWP customers to limit electricity use during the hottest days.

“Turn the thermostats up to 78 or higher, and give the appliances the afternoon off,” Wright said.

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