South Pasadena City Hall was temporarily closed when a power outage struck, effectively shutting down city business for nearly two hours.

The July 26 outage, which affected 2,056 So Pas customers, was caused when a contractor hit an underground power cable along Fair Oaks Avenue, according to Paul Netter, a spokesperson with Southern California Edison.

The outage also stretched into the cities of Alhambra and San Marino, affecting approximately 2,200 additional customers, Netter said.

“A contractor was digging underground when he hit the cable causing the outage,” Netter told The Review. The outage began at 9:12 a.m. and all but one customer got power restored by 10:52 a.m., Netter said.

When the outage struck, the morning temperatures were already hovering around 80-85 degrees with highs expected to reach 100 degrees. That high temperature prompted city officials to open local cooling centers, which are the So Pas Public Library and the Senior Center. However, the Senior Center was without power for “a couple of hours” as well, according to Liliana Torres, Senior Center supervisor.

Along with City Hall and the Senior Center, the outage affected the So Pas Library, police and fire departments as well as businesses throughout the city. Police and fire have back-up generators.

One local attorney renting office space on Oxley Street said the outage forced people to work elsewhere.

“Everything now is done on the computer and because of the outage, and our reliance on technology, we can’t do anything,” said local attorney Edward Corey with an office in the 1500 block of Oxley Street. “We have to regroup and I’m going to go home, do my work there, if the power is on.” 

Meanwhile, MOSAIC Maintenance Director Daniel Hart was using back-up generators and large fans to keep youngsters cool during a play rehearsal. The MOSAIC, a Christian-based church, is leasing the historic Rialto Theatre at 1023 Fair Oaks Ave., along with office space nearby, Hart said.

“This outage is crazy,” Hart said. “We jumped right on it. Got the generators up and running and our large construction fans going. The kids are fine.” The youngsters, ranging in age from 6 to 12, were rehearsing in a nearby office space, also on Fair Oaks Avenue.

After nearly two hours, the power was restored, according to officials.

“Looks like everything is back up citywide as of 11:00 a.m.,” said John Pope, interim public information officer for the city. “City Hall, library, Senior Center (all) reported in as back online.”

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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