Downed line knocks out power to Hanford

FRESNO, Calif.

For about two hours Thursday night nearly the entire city of Hanford, more than fifty-thousand people, had no electricity. Electricity to the city began to return around 8 p.m., but many businesses like this restaurant stayed closed after the outage.

Southern California Edison says it all started with one downed power line. As the power began to return to Hanford Thursday night, more problems emerged.

Witnesses say a fire was sparked on this power pole after what looked like an explosion on a transformer. Police, power and fire crews responded, shutting down part of 11th Avenue.

Southern California Edison crews scattered around the city to restore power. The utility company says a downed electrical line initially knocked out power to three thousand customers, but crews say working on that line was too dangerous so the outage was expanded.

"Part of that restoration, and to isolate it, in the interest of public safety that outage became more widespread... it was a field decision in the interest of public safety," Bill Delain of Southern California Edison said.

Crews set up stop signs at busy intersections while the traffic lights were out, and many families waited out the outage on their driveway saying it was too hot inside their homes.

The incident even cut power at the Adventist Medical Center. The hospital says a woman was trapped inside an elevator for over an hour, but critical patient equipment still operated with the use of emergency generators.

"We typically will close the cafeteria. Most computers in business areas are not working so there are some problems associated," Christine Pickering of Adventist Health said.

Some city streets sat dark longer than others. Entire strip malls were also deserted and many restaurants shut their doors, some posting signs telling about the outage.

On Wednesday there was another power outage where some 4 thousand customers lost electricity. Southern California Edison says that was due to an underground equipment failure and not related to the incident.

There's also no telling the financial impact to the businesses in the city that shut down because of the outage.

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