Inferno at Northridge Utility Yard Leads to Power Outage

Saturday, July 8, 2017
Electrical equipment fully involved with fire
Battling a blaze in high voltage equipment requires extra safety precautions
Photo Credits: 
Mike Medows

An intense fire at an electric utility site during a record-setting heatwave, led to power outage across an expanse of the San Fernando Valley. 

The Los Angeles Fire Department was notified at 6:53 PM on July 8, 2017 of an explosion heard in the 18900 block of Parthenia Street in Northridge, where firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy flames and a towering column of thick, dark smoke from within the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) energy transmission site known as Receiving Station J

A vat containing as much as 60,000 gallons of mineral oil, reportedly used as a cooling agent for high-voltage equipment, was heavily involved with fire and believed to be fully energized.  

LAFD Assistant Chief Patrick Butler conferred with LADWP experts to electrically isolate the fire and assure the safety of nearby residents, utility workers and firefighters  - as well as preclude greater harm to citywide utility service, before leading 74 firefighters to battle the flames directly with large volumes of water and firefighting foam. The inferno was fully extinguished in just 2 hours, and there were no injuries.

The resultant power outage at a time of intense summer heat affected the communities of Northridge, Winnetka, Reseda, Lake Balboa, Tarzana, North Hills, Granada Hills, Chatsworth, West Hills, Canoga Park and Woodland Hills according to LADWP officials, leading to scores of LAFD service calls including many elevator rescues. 

Fire damage to the facility, and any effect it may have upon utility service will be determined by LADWP. The cause of the blaze is considered accidental, and attributed to a mechanical malfunction per utility officials.

Dispatched Units: E103 E104 RA903 E8 E287 T87 BC15 EM15 RA70 E95 SQ95 HU114 BC10 E87 SQ87 T87 E287 E239 T39 FT36 E36 FT17 E17 HU84 RA17 FT100 E100 RA100 RA73


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