Manhole covers no longer flying in Long Beach, but power outage remains

About 2,700 Southern California Edison customers remained without power Thursday afternoon about a day after an underground electrical fire sent manhole covers flying in downtown Long Beach, officials said.

The Long Beach Fire Department said the outage began about 3 p.m. Wednesday after it received reports from police of smoke coming up from vents along 3rd Street. Power was initially cut off for about 6,000 customers; nearby residents were urged to stay indoors or evacuated.

The power outage shut off some traffic lights in the area, snarling the daily commute. Long Beach police announced street closures on Ocean Boulevard between Magnolia and Pacific avenues and Third Street between Magnolia and Cedar avenues.

“Please avoid Downtown #LongBeach while work continues to restore power in the area,” the City of Long Beach tweeted.

Kerry Gerot, spokeswoman for the City of Long Beach, said City Hall has been shut down. Power has been restored on Pine Avenue and in the East Village, however, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Southern California Edison officials said the outages appeared to be the result of the failure of equipment in the underground system in the downtown area. Several underground vaults were damaged. Equipment failed in as many as 10 locations in the system, utility spokesman Steve Conroy said.

Crews are working to resolve the issue and reduce the outage to a small footprint as soon as possible, he said, but intermittent outages will take place as crews test equipment.

“If we get everything the way we want it, we are hopeful that we might only be down to a couple hundred customers this evening without service,” Conroy said. “There will be customers unfortunately without service overnight.”

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4:14 p.m.: This post was updated with new information about the power outage.

This story was originally posted at 4:57 p.m. Wednesday.

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