Authorities say a distracted driver slammed his truck into a power pole on Ashlan near Parkway just before 5 p.m.
The man was not hurt, but the accident sent dark gray smoke swirling into the air. Firefighters couldn't use water to battle the flames initially because it conducts electricity, so they tried using dry chemical extinguishers instead. But the battalion chief says those didn't work well enough.
"The fire grew, the crews then evacuated businesses in immediate area, PG&E was notified, and when they arrived they electronically killed power to about 10,000 residents in the city," Fresno Fire Department Ron Stogdell said.
Firefighters were then able to put out the flames, and PG&E later restored power to the area. Traffic was diverted around that section of Ashlan onto Highway 99 or Dakota while workers made repairs to the pole and cleaned up the area.