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Crews Work Overnight On Downtown SMUD Substation; Hundreds Still Without Power

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Power is gradually being restored to parts of downtown Sacramento that were left in darkness Tuesday after a massive outage left homes, government buildings and businesses in the dark.

As a result, a mandatory evacuation was put in place for one senior housing complex on I street, since it needs power for its fire suppression system. Officials said around 150 seniors were in need of shelter.

The outage was caused by a fire at SMUD Substation A in downtown Sacramento Tuesday morning. On Wednesday morning, SMUD reported that work on the substation continued through the night, restoring power to more than 500 customers. There were still 800 customers in the area still without power as of 7 a.m.


Toby Todd is one of the hundreds forced from her downtown senior apartment.

Sacramento fire declared her building a hazard because of the power outage — leaving its fire suppression system inoperable.

City leaders turned city hall into a shelter for the residents.

"They came around asking us did we have oxygen and stuff like that," Todd said. "So I guess city hall is where we're going to go."

All across downtown, businesses were forced to close. Old Sacramento looked like a ghost town, its Christmas tree sitting in the dark.

"It's just sad that it's so quiet here right now and so empty," Old Sacramento resident Tom Staniosis said.

The power went out around noon, forcing the downtown venue called The Bank to cancel a 100-person holiday party. The food had just arrived.

"So we have to throw away all of our food that we've just had delivered for today's and tomorrow's events," The Bank's Colleen Story said.

Sacramento's county and federal courthouses were also forced to close. Around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, power was restored to Sacramento County Office Buildings at 700 H Street and 827 7th Street. All public counters were scheduled to reopen at 1 p.m.

SMUD de-energized the power for the downtown area after a fire broke out at a substation on H and 6th before noon.

A Sacramento City Fire investigation showed there is no evidence of arson or criminal intent.

Now a city waits for when the downtown lights can turn back on.

"So all pretty much we can do is wait, and wait, and wait," Todd said.

SMUD says it is working with those affected by the fire by offering them food and hotel rooms. 

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