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Balloon hits power station, causes outage

Ben Godar

The lights, and perhaps more importantly, the air conditioning, went

out in the northwest corner of the city for more than an hour

Wednesday after a Mylar balloon drifted into a power station.


The balloon floated over a wall and into the station near the

corner of Winona Avenue and Ontario Street at 3:36 p.m., Burbank

Water and Power Assistant General Manager Greg Simay said. The

balloon short-circuited several conductors, which Simay said caused a


brief outage throughout the city and an extended outage on the

nearest circuit.

The outage affected 4,000 customers, of which Simay said half were

residential. Most had their power restored at 4:50 p.m., however he

said some were not turned on until 5:40 p.m.

About 20 patrol and motor officers were called out to direct

traffic at major intersections where the lights could not be turned

to flashing red, police spokesman Sgt. William Berry said.


Backup generators at the Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport came

on immediately, so spokesman Victor Gill said there was no outage to

the tower or terminal.

Simay said it was the only time he could recall a balloon causing

such an extensive outage.

“We’ve had Mylar balloons get tangled in lines, but they generally

don’t drift into stations,” he said.