Power restored for 500 following substation fire, 800 still in the dark

Local News

The Latest – Wednesday, Dec. 15:

7:13 a.m.

According to SMUD, power has been restored for more than 500 customers in downtown Sacramento. Another 800 customers remain without power, with no word on when their power will be restored.

Tuesday, Dec. 14: 8:30 p.m.

SacRT has suspended light rail service in the Central Business District.

Blue Line: Bus Bridge between 13th Street and Arden/Del Paso Stations.
Gold Line: Bus Bridge between 13th Street and Sacramento Valley Stations.
Green Line light rail service is temporary suspended until power can be restored downtown. 

SacRT

SacRT said it expects to resume service on the Gold and Blue lines into downtown Wednesday morning.


Original story below:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A fire at a downtown Sacramento substation Tuesday led to a six-block power outage, and businesses and residents in the area were told they would stay in the dark throughout the rest of the day.

The Sacramento Fire Department said crews responded to the fire at 7th and H streets, where a Sacramento Municipal Utility District substation is located. A large plume of black smoke was seen above the city just before noon.

As a result of the flames, the power went out across a six-block radius, affecting traffic lights and several businesses in the area.

“We all were scared, even if you didn’t see the fire,” downtown resident Eddie Cole told FOX40. “I heard just a whole lot of noise out there. Then the alarm went off and I came to the door and I saw people not walking out the door, they were running out the door.”

Larry Santillanez, who lives at H and 7th streets, said he “heard an explosion” and saw a “ball of fire.”

“Like a loud noise, I thought it was tools they were messing with, and then I looked out my window and saw that big ball of fire and said, ‘Man, what’s going on?’” Santillanez recalled.

“It’s believed that a transformer did have some sort of an explosion. That explosion led to a fire in the yard, and then also an extension of fire into the building,” said Sacramento Fire spokesman Keith Wade.

People gathered outside and looked on as Sacramento fire crews responded to the fire both inside and outside the building. 

After SMUD de-energized the substation, firefighters were able to attack the flames using water and foam. 

“That foam would help to smother any sort of electrical equipment that is still smoldering and on fire. … It can also help to save any additional electrical equipment from suffering any damage,” Wade explained.

SMUD reported its substation A “suffered significant damage” from the fire and power would not be restored Tuesday. Roughly 1,300 customers lost power due to the fire, SMUD said.

No one was injured in the fire and all SMUD workers were accounted for.

SMUD and Sacramento fire officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze.

The substation is located at the Old Folsom Powerhouse Station A, a historical landmark constructed in 1894. A proposal submitted by SMUD earlier this year, which looked to decommission the substation, said there was “electrical-substation-related equipment” inside and outside the building.

Power at the Sacramento City Main Jail and some city buildings remained on Tuesday, but businesses and restaurants were left in the dark. 

“I walked down to 10th Street, and I don’t know how much further it went but I went down to K Street and everything’s dark,” local resident Reiner Herbon told FOX40.

Sacramento Regional Transit said the fire and power outage impacted light rail operations in the area. SacRT placed a bus bridge for passengers riding the Gold Line between the Sacramento Valley Station and the 13th Street Station.

Another bus bridge was put in place for Blue Line riders between the 13th Street Station and the Arden/Del Paso Stations. Green Line passengers were directed to use Bus Route 11.

Cilantro’s Mexican Restaurant owner Hugo Cervantes told FOX40 they had to close early and is making plans to move his food. 

“It was a normal day, actually pretty busy since we got here this morning, pretty excited. And then, everything just went off. We were packed when it happened,” Cervantes recalled.

“You can’t dwell on it too much, you know, just hope that everybody’s OK and things like that,” Cervantes continued.

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