Winds bring darkness, damage

Glendale may have escaped much of the mayhem and destruction seen in neighboring cities after Wednesday night’s powerful Santa Ana winds, but the toll was still extensive.

At least 30 large trees were toppled throughout the city, smashing cars and bringing down power lines that caused isolated power outages, forcing six Crescenta Valley schools to hold classes without electricity.

No injuries were reported, but officials warned that it would take some time to clear debris and remove fallen trees. Broken tree limbs and other debris closed Verdugo Adobe Park on Thursday, and multiple trees were toppled at nearly every park, including at least 20 at Brand Park.

Trees also fell onto at least five cars in Glendale, and caused a mess in many neighborhood streets, including on North Jackson Street, where a roughly 45-foot-tall tree snapped and fell into the parkway.

“It's a pretty good piece of destruction here,” said David Fortune, who lives on the street.

Emergency dispatchers for the region processed more than 1,700 calls during a 12-hour period starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday — a bulk of which were for major disasters in Pasadena, officials said.

The Glendale-based Verdugo Fire Communications Center, which handles 911 calls for 12 cities, dispatched crews to respond to 670 of the calls, well above the more typical 120 calls, said Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Greg Godfrey.

“It was a pretty significant night,” he said.

At one point during the windstorm, every fire engine in the region was responding to an incident, Godfrey added.

Glendale firefighters extinguished a few small grass and tree fires that ignited after electrical transformers exploded.

More destruction was expected to pelt the area Thursday night, with weather forecasters warning of continued high winds through Friday.

Glendale activated its emergency operations center on Thursday, as did the Pasadena Humane Society, which reported an influx of dogs that either got loose during the windy melee or no longer had a viable home due to property damage.

Animal control workers also fielded calls about injured birds and peacocks falling out of trees, spokeswoman Ricky Whitman said.

“It’s not just the dogs and cats, it’s also the wildlife,” she said.

Glendale Water & Power crews were able to restore service to all but about 200 of the roughly 10,000 customers who were without power at one point Thursday.

Crescenta Valley High School, Rosemont Middle School and La Crescenta, Mountain Avenue, Monte Vista and Glenoaks elementary schools were forced to hold class without electricity, Glendale Unified spokesman Steve Frasher said.

“We are basically improvising,” Frasher said. “We all get used to the technology, but education worked really well for a couple hundred years before electricity.”

Several school districts canceled class Thursday, including La Cañada, Pasadena and South Pasadena, cities that sustained far more damage and extensive power outages.

In Glendale, the three primary incidents involved toppled trees that partially blocked roadways and damaged power lines, including at Cañada Boulevard and Wabasso Way; Broadway and Adams Street; and Holly and Harvey streets, according to city spokesman Tom Lorenz.

“We appeared to have weathered this fairly well, compared to Pasadena and Burbank,” he said.

Winds also caused a massive portion of the roof at Shakers restaurant in Glendale to tumble down at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Employees and patrons in the restaurant were uninjured, Assistant Manager Sergio Martinez, said.

Even the Americana at Brand’s 100-foot-tall Christmas tree suffered when a 20-foot section snapped off. Crews were expected to repair the break in a couple days, a mall spokeswoman said.

Glendale launched a web page Thursday with information on the wind storm and how residents can report damage.

Councilman Ara Najarian said the city was prepared to fix the damage.

“I am 100% confident that any disruption on any street or any damage that is inflicted on the city will be dealt with in a timely fashion,” he said.

Staff writers Veronica Rocha, Brittany Levine and Megan O’Neil contributed to this report.

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