Balloon in Fullerton Makes Power Goes Out--in a Flash

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A rubber balloon with a metallic streamer triggered an outage that left 9,800 customers in Fullerton without electricity Saturday night.

Roger Faubel, a spokesman for Southern California Edison Co., said the balloon apparently blew over the fence at utility’s substation in downtown Fullerton. “It drifted down, and the balloon’s streamer got across one of our capacitors. What happened then was it short-circuited.”

That caused a momentary explosion that Fullerton Police Officer Bob Booth described as “bright lights in the sky.”


“There was a momentary flash but no fire,” Faubel said.

The blackout occurred at 8:37 p.m. Service was restored to all customers by 9:40, he said.

The substation is west of Lemon Street between Walnut Street and Truslow Avenue.

“I’m sure that balloon is absolutely no longer in this world,” Faubel said. “I’m sure it dissipated with a flash.”