Car crash causes power outages in Southeast Fresno

Sunday night PG&E restored power to more than 1,600 homes and businesses.
January 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Sunday night PG&E restored power to more than 1,600 homes and businesses. They all lost electricity after a mini-van crashed into a power pole in Southeast Fresno and then burst into flames.

Police say the driver fell asleep behind the wheel and got away with some scrapes and bruises but is otherwise okay. The driver knocked out power just before 6 p.m. right in the middle of the 49ers vs. Seahawks game.

The crash happened on the shoulder of the northbound lanes on Clovis Avenue near Church. Flames erupted after the crash, completely engulfing a Toyota mini-van.

"At first I thought the person was still in there, and they couldn't take her out, but then we saw her and she was talking to the policeman," Sandra Melendez from Fresno said.

After fire fighters put out the fire a torched mini-van frame gave witnesses an idea of just how hot the flames got. The driver, a 20-year-old Fresno woman, made it out of the accident with just a few bumps and bruises. Police say she had a long day at work and was tired. She was on her way home from Sanger when she fell asleep behind the wheel.

"Next thing she knows, she had crashed into the pole, she saw sparks, she opened her door, and she was able to make it to safety," Sgt. Eddie Barrios with the Fresno Police Department said.

PG&E says the accident knocked out power to more than 1,600 customers in the area. The power went out at 5:38 p.m. during the third quarter of a close and heated 49er NFC Championship Game.

"We could hear everybody yelling because I'm pretty sure everybody was watching the game," Maydi Rodriguez from Fresno said.

Many of the fans anger cooled after seeing the severity of the situation. Many were thankful to see the young woman, though extremely embarrassed, walk away from the accident okay.

"She's extremely lucky-- extremely lucky! The car was fully engulfed, hit a pole and it kept kindling and made the fire keep going and going, she's very lucky to get out alive," Barrios said.

PG&E said there is still one customer without power. They to get that customer's power back on by 6 a.m. Monday. Police say the driver is not facing any charges as of now. But they say she was driving without a license.


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