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North Bay Residents Cope With First 12 Hours Of Massive PG&E Power Shutdown

SONOMA (KPIX 5) -- Almost 12 hours after PG&E shut off the power in the North Bay out of concerns over fire danger and high winds, residents in Sonoma were doing their best to cope with the blackout.

67,000 customers across the North Bay woke up to no power Wednesday morning. But in downtown Sonoma, the day must go on.

Among the dark, empty streets in downtown Sonoma early Wednesday, Basque Boulangerie was a beacon of dim light, flaky crust, and caffeine for locals and tourists alike.

"I just wanted my coffee from the Boulangerie," said one visitor.

Bakers worked through the night up until the very moment the power was turned off at around 12:30 a.m. to make sure people could enjoy a fresh pastry.

"The fires, it was the same thing. We were open and…well, it's because all the locals are really supportive," said bakery worker Carmen Arriaga.


One couple visiting from Charleston, South Carolina, said they were in Wine Country trying to escape power outages due to hurricane season.

"If I were to live here, I'd certainly have a generator and probably an escape plan if a fire did start, just like we prepare for the hurricanes in Charleston," said South Carolina tourist Gary Walters.

And for those who have lived here for 50 years, the outage is an excuse to reconnect.

"Well, it's just another occasion to celebrate all our friends and the community," said Sonoma resident Vic Conforti. "We're a real tight community, so we take care of each other."

But downtown Sonoma certainly looked different Wednesday.

No school, no gas stations operational, no working traffic lights and limited places to get groceries that don't require refrigeration. Even the city buildings downtown are running off generators.

Some told KPIX 5 it was frustrating, especially when the winds were mostly light Tuesday night and earlier Wednesday.

While PG&E hasn't said exactly when the power will be turned back on, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District isn't taking any chances. They announced schools will be closed until at least the rest of the week.

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