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Crossed wires, palm tree leads to unplanned power shutdown

About 1,700 customers briefly without electrical service in Barron Park neighborhood

About 1,700 Palo Alto Utilities customers were without electricity Monday afternoon due to an emergency shutdown to remove a tree that had crossed power lines, according to an agency spokeswoman.

The outage began at 2:30 p.m. and affected about 1,700 customers in the city's Barron Park neighborhood and other surrounding areas in south Palo Alto, according to the Catherine Elvert, communications manager for Palo Alto Utilities.

About an hour earlier, a large palm tree made contact with power lines, sparking a small fire that was quickly extinguished by Palo Alto firefighters, Battalion Chief Bobby Davis said. The tree was in the 3700 block of Laguna Drive near Barron Avenue and Bol Park and caught fire at about 1:35 p.m. when white smoke was seen in the area, according to scanner reports.

No structures were threatened and Palo Alto Utilities was called to the scene. Firefighters cut the tree's leaves so it wouldn't obstruct the power lines, Davis said. No injuries were reported.

Utilities staff needed to shut off the power before they trimmed the tree, which caused the outage when it crossed into power lines, Elvert said. A team from the city's Urban Forestry division was assigned to remove the tree on Tuesday, she said.

As of 3:25 p.m., a team was working on the tree, she said. Utilities staff will then re-energize the power lines.

The affected customers are expected to have power back around 4 p.m. A check of the city's outage map showed no outages as of 4:15 p.m.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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Like this comment
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Palm Trees are a SoCal thing,,. Hope nobody got hurt..

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Sunny and warm today but a little windy. Rock a Bye Baby in the Tree Tops. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the baby will fall, down will come baby, cradle and all. Except in Palo Alto, it is a power outage!

4 people like this
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 17, 2019 at 8:55 am

there was a bond measure passed over 50 years ago to underground all electrical lines in Palo Alto. How's that coming BTW?

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