Blacked Out: Power outages delay 49ers game

Fans and officials wait at Candlestick Park during a power outage before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
December 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The lights went out twice Monday evening at Candlestick Park as the San Francisco 49ers made their return to Monday Night Football.

PG&E is still unsure what caused the outages, but you can bet after a national embarrassment, they are scrambling to figure it out. The utility is promising a joint investigation with the city of San Francisco to ensure it doesn't happen again.

The first outage happened just before kickoff. Fans inside Candlestick didn't know what was happening.

"All my friends are calling me, 'What's going on?' I'm like, 'I don't know,'" 49er fan Diane Cleveland said.

An aerial view shows what appears to be a transformer outside the stadium exploding. Whether that's what caused the power to go out, PG&E isn't yet saying.

The second outage happened at 6:45 p.m. during the second quarter, the cause presumably from inside the stadium itself. This time, players were clearly frustrated, and so were the fans. Several people ABC7 talked to decided to leave the game early.

"The power just went out, just everything, and then it started coming back little by little and it takes a long time to get the stadium lights going, at least a half an hour and so we said, 'You know, it's been a long day for us, we're going to head out,'" 49er fan George Williamson said.

"First we got our tickets, finally we got here, the power was out, then we got to the game, we found out our tickets were counterfeit, the power keeps going off, we're thinking it's time to go home," 49er fan Mark Staggs said.

A police officer told ABC7 he heard the source of the second outage was a switchbox inside the stadium.

The 49er game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was highly anticipated. Both teams going into this match-up were 10 and 3, and for the 49ers, it was their first appearance on Monday Night Football this season.

"Total power failure, I mean, the game was interrupted, you know? It's not fair to the players. It's not fair, but what can I say?" 49er fan Paul Siegmun said.

PG&E says it's looking into the cause. Several crews arrived at the stadium as soon as the second outage occurred.

"It could be any number of things; it could be equipment that is owned by PG&E or it could be equipment owned by Candlestick so that's exactly what we're currently investigating," PG&E spokesperson Joe Molica said.

San Francisco police received a bomb threat for Candlestick Park prior to kick off last night. Police checked the area of the stadium after the phoned-in threat and determined it had no merit.

The 49ers won the game 20-3.


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