Many South Bernal resident experienced a blackout of much of the day on Saturday, after a PG&E power surge took down part of the local grid. Neighbor Esther was reporting live from the scene:
At Wool and Eugenia this morning. Two loud pops and flashes. Fire dept is here. Live wire hanging down to shoulder level in intersection. Red hot little wire up above. Yikes! Overheard a comment about a power surge that caused this.
Yikes is right. Here’s Neighbor Esther’s photo of a red-hot wire cooking above Eugenia:
Blackouts are a nuisance, but unfortunately this outage actually caused injuries, as the power surge triggered a transformer explosion on tiny Heyman Avenue, several blocks away.
Benny Evangelista from The San Francisco Chronicle covered it:
Robert Antonelli, 55, was at the window of his Heyman Avenue home about 7:45 a.m. talking to a friend, Manuel Cruz, 34, of Daly City, who was standing outside, when he heard what sounded like a firecracker’s wick sizzling.
“And the next thing, ka-boom,” Antonelli said. “It exploded like a bomb. It blew things off my shelf. I flew back into my bed. Debris flew back into my room.”
Antonelli said Cruz, who was standing next to the transformer, was knocked out, and both men were taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Antonelli said he was treated for light burns on his face and released, but Cruz was more seriously burned and remained hospitalized.
The hospital did not immediately return a call seeking information about Cruz’s condition.
PG&E spokesman Matt Nauman confirmed that two men were injured after an equipment failure that occurred while a utility crew was at Wool Street and Eugenia Avenue, working to fix a power failure that began about 7:30 a.m.
Terrible. Get well soon, Neighbor Bobby and Manuel Cruz!
UPDATE: In the comments, Neighbor Esther shares more information about the injured:
I spoke to Neighbor Bobby later on Saturday after he was released from the hospital. He suffered light burns over his face and he said his lungs were still hurting and that is also hurt for him to talk. Manuel’s injuries were more serious, apparently he has severe burns all over his body but initial reports indicate his eyesight and hearing are ok. Best wishes for both men recovering soon!
Esther also reminds us that another PG&E transformer exploded nearby, on Coleridge, a little more than a year ago. Bernalwood has sent a series of questions to PG&E to understand more about the history and inspection procedures for this infrastructure. Stay tuned.
PHOTOS: PG&E crew working at Wool and Eugenia, courtesy of Neighbor Esther