Transformer Fire Causes Power Outage in Cathedral City
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
Southern California Edison said a transformer and underground cable line caught fire in Cathedral City because of the increased power demand due to the heat.
It happened at the Date Palm Plaza; the same shopping center severely damaged by fire last year.
Bryan Torres was busy working at his barber shop when the lights went off.
"We were just cutting hair and all of a sudden the power just went out, it definitely blew the TV set up, and you could smell electrical fire going on inside," said Torres, owner of Denny's Barber Shop.
It has been an unlucky year, in December 2011 an arson fire destroyed and damaged eight businesses in the Date Palm Plaza.
"We got smoke damage and stuff, fire damage, and now this, its already tough trying to make it through the summer and this happens," said Torres.
Business owners saw the smoke outside, and then heard several loud bangs.
"This one at first just a little bit of fire, and smoke, and them bam very hard and very loud, so get scared," said Vivian Liu, whose family was about to have a grand opening for #1 Chinese Cuisine & Sushi on Thursday.
Firefighters doused the underground blaze.
"When the firefighters were on scene the vault exploded at least two times, and what that was was probably the system trying to recharge itself," said Cathedral City Interim Fire Chief, Robert Van Nortrick.
The December arson fire forced many businesses to close for months.
"Another major concern is these restaurants are just opening up, and this Chinese restaurant was having their grand opening today so they have an overstock of food," said Chief Robert Van Nortrick.
Taqueria San Miguel was damaged by the fire in December.
Five months later they reopened.
So another problem, this time a power outage, has business owners feeling like they are on a roller-coaster.
"Kind of ups and downs since we opened, a lot of trouble and a lot of stuff that is not really fixed, but we are working around it. So I don't think it is going to affect anything and the business, but affects all my employers again," said Carlos Romo, owner of Taqueria San Miguel.
The stores closed a much shorter time this time, but it's still a reminder of all they had to rebuild.
SoCal Edison said still over dozen businesses have no power as of Thursday night. Crews are working to restore power by 6AM Friday morning.