File photo.
File photo.

The power was back on for most people in Long Beach Friday after at least 30,000 Southern California Edison customers lost electricity when an underground vault exploded and led to a fire in the city’s downtown area.

It was the second major outage in Long Beach in July.

No injuries resulted from the blast, which was reported about 4:15 p.m. Thursday in the area of 10th Street and Pine Avenue, Susan Cox of SCE said.

It’s unclear what caused this blast, but Cox said the problem was similar to underground electrical vault fires that knocked out power to 4,800 customers on July 15.

In that case, service wasn’t restored until July 19. No injuries were reported as a result of the fires, but some cast-iron manhole covers were deformed as they blasted into the air with explosive force and came down amid midday traffic in the city’s downtown streets.

The outage area was roughly bounded by Spring Avenue to Shoreline Drive and Santa Fe Avenue to Alamitos Avenue, said Long Beach acting Public Affairs Officer Kerry Gerot.

Crews were at the scene making repairs, she said.

All but around 400 utility customers had their service restored by 10 p.m. Thursday, Gerot said.

Extra fire and police crews were deployed along with volunteers to support community notification and outreach efforts, and efforts were being made to open a shelter location, Gerot said.

Many of the area’s 500 traffic signals were without power and the city’s public works department was deploying generators to intersections deemed the most critical, according to Gerot.

Residents were urged to drive carefully, check on and care for neighbors, stay out of elevators and avoid using candles because of the fire risk.

— City News Service

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