Down Powerlines Cause Fire Near Microsoft Campus

PG&E crews remained on scene to try and restore power to nearby mobile park community.

Updated at 1:30 a.m. with comments from PG&E and the Mountain View Fire Department.

Downed power lines caused a small brush fire near 's Silicon Valley campus Thursday night and shut down power to more than 370 customers, a PG&E spokesman said.

As many as 372 customers lost power at 9:23 p.m. when power lines went down near 1065 La Avenida St., spokesman J.D. Guidi said. By midnight, 199 customers remained without power and the utility expected full restoration by 8 a.m. Friday.

Spokeswoman Jaime Garrett reported that crews responded to vegetation on fire in an area under high voltage power lines, with multiple power lines down. Firefighters extinguished the fire by 10 p.m. There was no structural damage and a resident of the mobile home community had to be transported to the hospital, Garrett said. Approximately one acre of vegetation burned in the fire. Moffett Field Fire Department provided mutual aid.
Guidi said crews continued at the scene to investigate possible equipment failure at a substation. According to Garrett, dispatchers received multiple calls of sounds of an explosion and flames in the area of La Avenida and Space Park Way.

An iPhone image captured the magnitud of the fire. 

A man at an event in building No. 1 of the Microsoft campus said that the lights went out while he was still inside at 9:23 p.m. Then the emergency lights came on and he was evacuated.

"Walking outside we could see the embers floating up behind another building, I started walking over to the fire because that's where I had parked," said Hong Quan, a startup recruiter and mentor, who took the image and posted it online using an app called Tiny Review. "By the time I got to my car the firefighters and some police where already on scene. They seemed to have it under control rather quickly."

"I was unable to tell if it was a building, some trees or some sort of transformer that blew," Quan said, adding that he soon left after he got into his car. "It was too bright with the fire itself and there were also trees blocking the view."

According to Melissa Miranda, a staffmember at startup Tiny Review which is part of the lastest cycle of 500 Startups located on the top floor of 444 Castro St., they could see the fire from their office.

The area affected by the outages included North Shoreline Boulevard and north of U.S. Highway 101 along Crittenden Lane, Space Park Bay, La Avenida and Macon Avenue, Guidi stated.

PG&E has powerlines along the bank of Stevens Creek and electrical towers just north of the La Avenida entrance to the Stevens Creek Trail east of the Microsoft campus.

Garrett stated that Stevens Creek Trail "will remain closed until PG&E can ensure that the downed power lines are not charged and remove them from the area."

"At this time I have no ETA for when that work will be done," she said. "The trail is closed from approximately the La Avenida area out to the Baylands and the closed sections are clearly marked."

Additional reporting by Bay City News.

L.A. Chung January 13, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Hey, big applause for TinyReview, and the folks at 500 Startups for letting us know about this early on. It's really great when people do this when it's happening!
commuter January 13, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Hope no one was hurt in the fire. Any update on when the trail will reopen? This is a popular commuting route for bicyclists and pedestrians in the morning.
Claudia Cruz January 13, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Yes! It was a big coincidence that Quan was at Microsoft and uploaded his photo to Tiny Review. The folks at Tiny Review were gracious to reach out to me. And it makes sense that they saw the fire, 444 Castro St. is the tallest building downtown.
Claudia Cruz January 13, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I've left a message for PG&E to call me back. Will update.


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