Power lines catch 2 cars on fire, leaves many in dark

January 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Along Piedmont Avenue power was out for most of the day and businesses like the movie theatre, had to close for the day.

"It was like a sonic boom." That is how one Oakland resident described the sound she heard when a live, 12,000 volt PG&E power line came crashing down in front of her Linda Avenue home. The crackling line set the tires on two parked cars on fire.

The Oakland Fire Department quickly extinguished the flames. A lone PG&E worker was able to get power restored to most of the neighborhood, but several businesses along Piedmont Avenue remain in the dark Wednesday afternoon.

In the meantime, high in the Oakland Hills, city tree crews responded to about three dozen emergency calls. In one case on the 6100 block of Snake Road, the storm uprooted a 50-foot Monterey pine, which was caught by two neighboring redwoods.

"It's going to cost a couple hundred dollars anyway to lose a day's sales," says Brian Goehry from Wine on Piedmont.

The Goehry and several other businesses on Piedmont Avenue lost a whole day's income due to the power outage.

City tree worker Todd Lawsen inspected the situation and determined there was no immediate danger to surrounding homes. However, Lawsen did instruct the property owner that she would have to hire a private tree company to remove the pine as soon as possible.

"We will not work on trees on private property," says Lawsen.

In the meantime, high in the hills, city tree crews responded to about three-dozen emergency calls.

Power was expected to be restored to Piedmont Avenue by 7:30 p.m.