Power outage impacts residents, school

Power outage impacts residents, schoolBy LINDSAY JOHNSON

News Review Contributor

Hundreds of Ridgecrest residents were left shaken and in the dark shortly after 7:30 Sunday evening after an underground transformer exploded at the intersection of La Mirage Lane and South Gold Canyon Street.

“It was just frightening —my first thought was ‘earthquake!’” said Kris Hass, La Mirage resident. “There was a loud whistle, and then all of a sudden it just exploded.

“All I saw was blue and white. As soon as I opened the door, I heard the whistling — that’s when there was another explosion. I came back in and started to gather my son and our stuff and tried to come back out, then that’s when it exploded again. Everyone in the neighborhood was screaming at us to get out, so we just ran.”

People from all around the area came to help and check on their neighbors. “The power went out and I heard a boom and then saw the smoke,” said Judo Martinez, who is a neighborhood watch resident.

“The first thing I thought was there was a car accident — someone got T-boned. I could have sworn I heard someone holler for help, so I ran over there. I got at least 10 feet, and it blew off again.”

Martinez, along with other residents assisted in containing the area with flares until all officials arrived on scene.

“I’ve got all my stuff out here, and so far no one is stealing it. I’m just going to be patrolling the neighborhood all night. Most of the people that live here are low income or on disability, so I walk up and down and make sure everyone’s OK.” said Martinez.

The Ridgecrest Police Department also extra patrols to the affected areas as a precaution.

Many households are struggled to keep their food preserved in their refrigerators as they endured the blackout.

The Family Food Pantry, located at 108 N. China Lake Blvd., has offered those affected use of the pantry’s refrigerators until power is fully restored, as well as outlets for charging cell phones.

Nearly 340 residents were still without power as of Tuesday morning.

Affected areas included parts of La Mirage, the Ridge Apartments and Pierce Elementary School. According to Sierra Sands Unified School District’s website, Pierce was unable to hold sessions Monday because of the outage and was planning to delay the start of school to 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

At press time power had not yet been restored to the school, but SCE spokesperson Daniel Brady said that the utility company had called in two additional crews to assist with replacing the melted conduit, and that they would be working “24/7 until power is restored.”

Brady said that because the damage was worse than anticipated, SCE was delivering give generators to help power Pierce and surrounding homes in the mean time.

On Tuesday, SCE representatives were speculating that power would be restored by early Wednesday morning.

Story First Published: 2012-11-07