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Electrical Explosion Cuts Power to Schools, Homes

Power went out midday at El Toro High, La Madera Elementary and some residences.

Update: SCE's outage map now shows that repairs should be completed at about 9 p.m.

Power went down at about 11:30 a.m. to two Lake Forest schools and about 2,000 Southern California Edison customers after an electrical vault exploded at Serrano Road and Ridge Route, police said.

Reports of a "loud explosion" at the intersection—adjacent to both El Toro High and La Madera Elementary—brought police to the area.

Police temporarily shut down Serrano between Ridge Route and Sawmill as Orange County Fire Authority personnel and SCE employees responded to the spot where smoke was seen rising out of the ground.

The explosion initially knocked out power to 2,044 customers between Trabuco Road and Jeronimo, and Lake Forest Drive and El Toro Road. However, 30 seconds later, the power came back on for all but 368 customers, according to a SCE spokesman.

The explosion blasted though a slab of concrete across the street from El Toro High School. No injuries were reported.

As of about 2 p.m., phone lines were up again at El Toro High, on Toledo Way, though there was still no answer at La Madera Elementary, situated across the street on Serrano.

An SCE spokesman said that crews are working to restore power to the remaining 368 customers without electricity in the area. According to the company's outage map, power should be restored at about 3 p.m.

Tracey Stahl February 15, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Why would an electrical vault suddenly explode? I'm not a conspiracy theorist but there have been 2 occasions where La Madera had dangerous chemicals left on their property. Sounds suspect to me.
Sarah de Crescenzo (Editor) February 15, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Tracey, an SCE spokesman said it exploded because an underground cable in the vault failed. Also, the explosion didn't take place on La Madera property—it was on the farthest corner of the intersection of Serrano and Ridge Route, diagonal from the school. I've never heard of dangerous chemicals being on the school campus. Can you email me any info you have about that?

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