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.