File photo.
File photo.

Utility crews worked to restore electricity to about 200 customers still without service in Long Beach on Friday after a fire and blast in an underground vault — the second such outage this month.

At least 30,000 customers initially were affected by the vault fire, which occurred about 4:15 p.m. Thursday near 10th Street and Pine Avenue, Susan Cox of Southern California Edison said.

As of 11 p.m. tonight, about 200 customers were without electricity, according to SCE.

Generators are being used to temporarily restore power at several buildings, including to older residents of high-rise buildings, Cox said.

Additional buildings in the affected area are being evaluated to determine if generators would be helpful, Cox said.

Beginning about 10 a.m., crews, some of them brought in from across SCE’s service area, began systematically checking about 300 underground vaults for potential heating, cable and component abnormalities, Cox said.

Those inspections were completed by about 5:30 p.m., according to SCE.

Meanwhile, volunteers at Cesar Chavez Park were on hand handing out water, ice and flashlights, Cox said.

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

It’s unclear what caused the 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 blasted into the air and came down amid midday traffic.

—City News Service

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