On Wednesday at 3:38 PM, the Long Beach Police Department had officers in the area of 3rd Street and Chestnut Avenue. The officers reported smoke coming from vents that lined 3rd Street. They requested that the Long Beach Fire Department respond and assist. Fire units arrived onscene and found pressurized smoke coming from two different vents that involved an underground electrical vault between Magnolia Avenue and Chestnut Avenue on 3rd Street. Fire units began suppression activities and extinguished the fire and supported Southern California Edison with ventilation operations in an attempt to access and identify the cause of the fire and subsequent power outage. Based on the initial concerns to the impacted neighborhoods, Long Beach Police began evacuating residents in the immediate area. After the initial fire was extinguished, the evacuations were cancelled and residents were allowed to return home.
Southern California Edison units continued to ventilate the involved underground electrical vault, where at one point, the fire re-ignited and required additional fire suppression operations. Subsequently, two additional electrical vaults caught fire as well. The second vault is located at Pacific Avenue and 9th Street and the third vault to ignite was at Pine Avenue and Nardo Way. All three fires have been extinguished and at this time there are no active fires and no smoking vents.
The power remains out from 10th Street to the Ocean and from Magnolia Avenue to Alamitos Avenue. Southern California Edison continues to work diligently on identifying the problem and is taking immediate action to restore services as soon as possible. As of now, there are approximately 4,800 customers without power in the affected areas throughout downtown Long Beach. There is no estimated time frame for restoration of services until Southern California Edison crews can conduct an adequate assessment.
Based on the power outage and the unknown duration of the event, additional fire department units have been requested to support the impacted areas. The Long Beach Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Long Beach Search and Rescue program have also been activated to support community notification and outreach efforts.
There have been no reports of injuries. Residents needing help are advised to call “911” for emergent requests. The City of Long Beach is ready to assist and provide support as needed. We will continue to keep the public informed with updates as they become available. LBPD has deployed an enhanced patrol presence to the affected area. There are approximately 120 traffic intersections in the area, many of which are without power, and Public Works is deploying available power generators to most critical intersections to provide power for traffic signals. The City has activated the Emergency Operations Center, and multiple department representatives are actively engaged in monitoring and responding to issues as they arise.
We ask that all residents and visitors be mindful of their activities tonight, and be mindful of caring for your neighbors, seniors, and children. Please be careful while walking around in the dark. Please use flashlights at all times to maintain your personal safety and prevent unnecessary accidents. Please stay out of elevators as they may fail to operate thus potentially trapping occupants. Please use extreme caution while driving and be careful of unlit intersections and streets. Remember that intersections without power must be treated as a four way stop. Please continue to pay attention to social media updates on Twitter and Facebook from the City of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Department, Long Beach Police Department, and Southern California Edison.
For power outage updates visit: https://www.sce.com