News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 01/28/2013
Subject :

Early Morning Fire in Underground Electric Vault Causes Power Outages for 550 Utility Customers
Contact : Niles Broussard, Battalion Chief    650 329-2615
Debra Katz, Utilities Communications Manager    650-810-3673
Palo Alto, CA – This morning at approximately 4:25 AM, Palo Alto Fire units were dispatched to a reported fire in an electrical vault at 1400 Dana Avenue.  Palo Alto fire crews arrived to find 6-10 Inch flames coming from the electrical grate in the sidewalk on the south side of Dana Avenue. Residents were advised to shelter in place and traffic was diverted. The fire was quickly extinguished with CO2 extinguishers.  

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. There were no reported injuries to residents or fire personnel that responded: Engine 3, Engine 1, Truck 6, Rescue 2, Medic 1, and Battalion 6.

Utility crews also responded to the incident and at 6:14 AM were able to isolate the damaged equipment (a failed transformer) and restore electric service to 538 customers. The remaining 21 customers from this outage were restored to power at 4:05 PM.

At approximately 8 AM, system operators began receiving more calls of a brown-out in the area of Center Street from Pittman to Dana because of additional equipment damage caused by the fire. Approximately 200 customers were impacted. Additional crews responded and performed line patrols and cable testing for this new outage. At 11:10 AM, crews restored power to approximately 150 customers and the final 50 customers were returned to power by 12:50 PM. 

Follow City of Palo Alto Utilities on twitter [ or @PAUtilities] for the fastest updates on outages and other activities or visit and select the utility service currently disrupted for periodic updates.