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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We were watching TV when the power went out for about 3 seconds and then it came back on. We immediately started joking about the inevitable (OK, wishful thinking) call for a vehicle into a power pole. Our banter was interrupted by a telephone call. The biggest target hazard (business or location that has the potential for things to go bad really fast), in this case a furniture manufacture that is the only two story business in our district and it has hazardous/explosive materials on the premises, was calling to inform us that they had just had a big explosion and they were trying to figure out what blew up. We very quickly got into our turnouts (there were only two of us that day) and started responding. The engineer got on the radio, "San Bernardino, Medic Engine 461, we have reports of an explosion at a two story wood framed business. Start a structure response to stage at Highway 62 and Park, we'll get you the correct address when we are on scene." Dispatch came back to inform us that they had a separate report just coming in of a vehicle into a power pole at Highway 62 and Elm. They wanted to know if it was the same thing. We let them know that those were two different locations and that they needed to start an additional unit for the TC.

When we arrived at the business there was nothing showing but all of the employees were outside. They told us that one of the power poles had exploded. We did a rapid check of the area and there was no smoke, fire, or danger. We quickly cancelled the incoming units and started responding to the TC. When we were coming up on scene we saw a power pole being supported by its power lines hanging over the highway. About 20 feet beyond the pole was the smashed up car that had taken it down. The driver was now sitting in the back of a pick up on the other side of the highway. We checked him out and signed him out AMA. He had some bruising to the left ribs and an avulsion to the right elbow, which I bandaged. We had CHP shut down half of the highway just in case.

So what happened is that the car hit the power pole and knocked the power out for 3 seconds. The power company, realizing that the power flow was interrupted, sent a larger charge of electricity through the lines to try to burn off whatever bird that had just been zapped (a frequent cause of short term power outages) This clears the line and all is well, if it was an actual bird that caused the short. This time the power spike blew up some of the porcelain thingies (I can't remember the technical names) and sent porcelain flying for a couple hundred feet in all directions. Some of the debris busted windshields, skylights and dinged up vehicle paint jobs.

While we were on scene of the TC dispatch asked if we were able to run a medical aid. We got toned out for an ill female. She was an old frail woman that had been throwing up for 3 days. She was also having a little bit of trouble breathing. While we were working her up MBA arrived. As they walked in they commented something along the lines of WOW! Been busy lately?!!? It's just like what a British cop once said, "It's hours and hours of boredom with about 20 seconds of excitement and then hours and hours of boredom." He wanted to remain anonymous.

This is the car that took out the power pole. The driver walked away.

The scene of the second call after we finished our third call in 25 minutes.

The car was sitting in the dirt here in the fore ground.

The power pole that "exploded"

The windshield of a brand new PT Cruiser that was broken by a falling piece of porcelain.

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