a santa monica fire department truck's emblem


Power was knocked out to about 3,600 utility customers in Santa Monica Monday when a worker using a backhoe on the grounds of an elementary school damaged a line, authorities said.

The problem was reported about 10:40 a.m. at Lincoln Middle School, on 14th Street east of Montana Avenue, according to Southern California Edison and the Santa Monica Fire Department.

Lincoln Middle School students sheltered in place, and no injuries were reported, according to the SMFD, which sent firefighters to the neighborhood on reports of transformer problems. Traffic was routed away from the area, and utility crews were notified.

Mary Ann Milbourn of SCE said 3,613 customers initially were affected, but power had been restored to all but 1,260 by early afternoon.

The problem was caused by a worker who was using a backhoe at the school, according to Milbourn, who urged people to call 811 before excavating in areas where there may be underground electrical wires, natural gas lines or water mains. Utility companies will send someone to the scene to advise construction workers on safe areas to dig.

Also, Milbourn reminded people to stay away from downed power lines and to call 911 to report problems.

–City News Service

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