Power Remains Out Day After Vault Fire in Long Beach

As repair work stretches beyond 24 hours, Long Beach residents wait out the power outage in any shade they can find outside their stifling apartments.

It was about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday when an underground electrical vault caught fire.

"Being in a vault we had fire travel through the ducts and impact other vaults and impact cable through to the city," said Paul Grigaux, of Southern California Edison (SCE).

Three vaults caught fire, causing flames and smoke to pour out of manhole covers and the loss of power to more than 6,000 homes and businesses in downtown Long Beach.

On July 17, SCE said about 1,000 customers were still affected by the power outages. The number of customers impacted were expected to fluctuate due to testing.

"Unfortunately with the network system and underground system, the restoration and troubleshooting are complicated," Grigaux said.

Without power, food is spoiling in refrigerators and kids accustomed to TV and video games are left to find other ways to spend a summer vacation day.

"We can hang out. We can talk. We haven't been doing that for awhile now, so it's good," said Jennifer Sanchez, of Long Beach.

Jonathan Sanchez is keeping a close eye on his prized possession, a tank filled with half a dozen fish whose survival now depends on this 10 year old manually pumping air into their tank.

"What I did was attach a pump and a filter and pump air in and out," he said.

But he's also enjoying the surprise consequence of life without power.

"It's been actually fun because we go into street and play football and street hockey," he said.

Some will be without power through the night and into Friday morning.

Contact Us