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Vault Fire Temporarily Knocks Out Power To Customers In Long Beach

LONG BEACH ( — Authorities say another electric vault fire in Long Beach temporarily knocked out power to customers Thursday afternoon.

Electricity was out for what was described as a "large swath" of the city around 3 p.m.

According to the city of Long Beach, the area north of downtown was affected.

The Public Works Department says power went out between Magnolia Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard from Hill Street to 16th Street.

Firefighters found smoke coming from an underground electrical vault near the area.

There were two major outages in Long Beach last month also blamed on fires or explosions in underground vaults.

KCAL9's Peter Daut said it was the fourth major outage in the area this summer.

At least 2,700 customers were out Thursday, according to Southern California Edison.

By 3:50 p.m., SCE said power was restored to about 1,800 of the customers who lost service.

"People are frustrated and it's scary," said Long Beach resident Javier Ortiz.

By 4:30, they announced power was fully restored to the affected area.

Whatever the cause of these outages, residents just want them to stop.

"I hope they fix it," said Christina Tran, a nail salon owner.

She said less electricity translates into fewer customers. She was forced to close up shop again early.

"I'm scared if it keeps happening like that," she said, "I lose the business."

SCE officials told Daut that Thursday's outage was on a different system than the others, and these types of outages are not unusual during heat waves.

"It does make the system stressed," says Robert Villegas of SCE. "It works hard and sometimes some components do fail due to the heat."

The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating the outages.

Meanwhile, Daut says city officials plan to meet with SCE to try to keep the outages from happening again.

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