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UPDATE: Outage Caused by Equipment Failure 'On Pole Near Banning Airport'

Power was restored to more than 17,000 customers in Beaumont, Cherry Valley, Banning, Cabazon and Whitewater just before p.m. Dec. 11, according to utility officials.

Update 5:31 p.m. The cause of outages that left more than 17,000 customers without power in the San Gorgonio Pass for several hours Tuesday afternoon stemmed from a piece of equipment that failed on a pole in the vicinity of Banning Municipal Airport, a Southern California Edison spokeswoman said.

The outages coincided with a major transmission failure in Banning that caused two fires, and a vegetation fire next to Interstate 10 in Beaumont, according to Edison and Cal Fire officials.

Susan Cox, an Edison spokeswoman, said power was restored to more than 17,000 customers affected in Beaumont, Cherry Valley, Banning, Cabazon and Whitewater as of 2:59 p.m. Dec. 11.

Cox said Tuesday evening she was not sure if the equipment failure on the pole near Banning Municipal Airport sparked any fires.

Cal Fire Division Chief Kevin Gaines told Banning-Beasumont Patch there was "a major transmission failure in Banning" that caused two fires at the same time as the vegetation fire near a power line area in Beaumont.

The street address for Banning Municipal Airport is 600 S. Hathaway St., Banning, east of Hargrave and south of Interstate 10.

Update 4:01 p.m. A Cal Fire division chief said Tuesday afternoon there was "a major transmission failure in Banning" that caused two fires at the same time as the vegetation fire near a power line area in Beaumont.

"We're not sure if it's a coincidence or if the incident on Hathaway in Banning also caused this fire here in Beaumont," Cal Fire Division Chief Kevin Gaines said in a video interview with Banning-Beaumont Patch.

The video is attached to this report.

Update 3:21 p.m. Some residents of Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon reported their electricity had been restored as of 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Susan Cox, an Edison spokeswoman, said power was restored to more than 17,000 customers affected in Beaumont, Cherry Valley, Banning, Cabazon and Whitewater as of 2:59 p.m. Dec. 11.

"The outage was reported at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon," Cox said in a phone interview. "At the time it had impacted 17,239 customers in Banning, Beaumont, Cabazon, Cherry Valley and Whitewater. Power was partially restored to 2,179 customers at around 1:26 p.m."

The cause of the outages was under investigation, Cox said.

Update 3:01 p.m. The fire next to westbound Interstate 10 in Beaumont burned about 600 feet of trees and damaged a trailer and a Caltrans barrier next to the freeway, a Cal Fire division chief said at the scene.

The fire also resulted in exterior smoke damage to the Beaumont Tire Shop and America's Best Value Inn, said Cal Fire Division Chief Kevin Gaines, who is based in Banning.

Traffic signals were still out in Beaumont before 3 p.m.

There was no immediate update from Southern California Edison, who told Banning-Beaumont Patch before 2 p.m. that 17,400 customers were without power from Beaumont to Banning, Cabazon and Whitewater due to a substation damaged in the vegetation fire.

Posted 2:01 p.m. A fire scorched eucalyptus and pine trees next to westbound Interstate 10 Tuesday afternoon in Beaumont, damaged a utility substation, and left 17,400 customers without power in the San Gorgonio Pass.

Customers from Beaumont to Banning, Cabazon and the Whitewater area were among those without electricity due to the substation damaged in the vegetation fire, a Southern California Edison spokeswoman told Banning-Beaumont Patch.

The fire was reported at 12:04 p.m. on the westbound 10 east of Beaumont Avenue, according to Cal Fire. It was contained one hour and five minutes later, but not before the substation was damaged, according to Cal Fire and Edison officials.

"First arriving engine company reported a brush fire on the right hand shoulder of the freeway, approximately 600 feet of eucalyptus and pine trees, requiring heavy mop up," Melody Hendrickson of Cal Fire said in a statement.

Westbound 10 lanes were closed for a time. As of 1:45 p.m., one westbound lane and the offramp at Beaumont Avenue remained closed, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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Guy McCarthy December 12, 2012 at 01:25 AM
For anyone curious about power at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital during the outages, a spokeswoman there released a statement: Emergency Generator Worked as Intended at San Gorgonio Hospital During Outage http://patch.com/A-0pG2
L & R December 12, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Thank you Guy. We were visiting the hospital today, they were running as smoothly as usual. They gave flash lights to guests visiting rooms with patients. The nursing group kept us updated throughout the outage. I really never felt it during my visit. We prepared to leave when the lights came back on and employees were collecting flashlights and thanking us for bring patient. My mom and all of us were better off in the hospital than on the crazy ads without working traffic lights. Thank you San Gorgonio for making us comfortable and not bothered by the emergency. Race & Lindy
Ken December 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Funny no mention of the linemen working on the power lines on Maple...Just a couple hundred ft away...
Mariana Zuelsdorf December 13, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Poor Banning, thrown under the bus for causing a fire in Beaumont. CAL FIRE Incidence report doesn't mention any fire/fires in Banning, on Dec 11.
nobodyuno December 14, 2012 at 06:37 PM
So, we here in Banning are paying dearly for our utilities now and we get our electric from Edison?? The city utility rates are second highest in the state, we get our electric from Edison but we pay more for it than Edison customers pay... What needs to happen to take the city of out of the mix. Why should we pay more than others for the same source of power???

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