Bird on the line causes power outage

Southern California Edison contractor inspects a power pole on Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesdy morning after a wayward bird apparently landed on a wrong line, causing a power outage throughout La Crescenta. Photo by Leonard COUTIN


About 3500 customers were affected by a power outage and a hillside was set ablaze all due to a bird that landed on a wire this morning about 8 a.m.
“The bird landed on a fuse bracket holder which caused the transformer circuits to lock up,” said Dave Ford, spokesman for Southern California Edison.
The outage caused damage to some power lines in the area including a downed line on Pennsylvania Avenue and Mary Street and on Orin Avenue that ignited a fire.
“We got the call at 8:19 a.m. and had the fire knocked down in four minutes,” said Capt. Steve Zermeno from Los Angeles County Fire Station 63 in the 4500 block of Ramsdell Avenue.
Like many residents of La Crescenta the firefighters noticed the power “blinking” off and on.
“When that happens it is usually because a car has hit a power pole or a transformer has blown. We knew we would be called out so we got dressed and were [heading] for the truck when the call came in,” Zermeno said.
The fire was in the backyard of a home in the 4500 block of North Orin Avenue just west of station 63. When firefighters arrived they discovered lines were down from one pole to another. The active lines fell on a metal fence, energizing it and igniting the dry brush on the backyard hillside. The area is surrounding by brush and trees.
Ray Menzon lives next door and heard the lines break.
“I heard the crackling then a loud pop like an explosion,” Menzon said. “I went outside to help [with a garden hose] but the fire was moving too fast.”
His home and his neighbors’ homes have trees that could have easily ignited making this fire much more difficult to control.
“The firefighters got here and put it out fast,” he said.
The sound of it was something he didn’t want to hear again.
“I was in the military so when I hear explosions I still get a little nervous,” he added.
Businesses along Foothill Boulevard lost power as well as Crescenta Valley High School, which was dark for about an hour.
Ford said the majority of the homes were back on line by 10:30 a.m. but about 90 customers were left without power for several hours. All power was restored by 6 p.m.
The lines that were downed on Pennsylvania Avenue did not cause a fire, just a few traffic problems as sheriff and police closed down lanes while repairs were made.
There were no power outages reported in the Glendale area.