Underground transformer explosion in downtown Concord. 3,000 without power

October 28, 2010 9:30 am · 39 comments

 About 3,000 people are without power right now near downtown Concord.

PG&E says they don’t know what caused the three outages, but a witness, who happens to be a reader of CLAYCORD.com tells us a different story….

Hello, I was just on Clayton Road approx 20 mins ago and witnessed 3 blasts from what appeared to be manholes where pg&e was working on Clayton Rd. near Detroit, about a block down behind Petsmart and behind the laundry mat on Clayton & Fry Way.

The PG&E trucks present started driving between the locations quickly but didn’t stop to check on the people that were standing approx 15-20ft away from the Petsmart blast at the bus stop (this was the only one I could see directly as I was standing near it when it happened. The smoke shot into the air about 20-30 ft from all 3 locations.

The Concord Police also issued the following reminder….

Due to a major power outage, many traffic lights in the downtown and surrounding areas are not functioning.

Please remember to stop at all non functioning traffic signals.

Police, Fire and necessary personnel are working to restore service.

According to PG&E, the power will be back on by 11:30am.

Thanks to everybody who emailed us information about the outage & the blasts!

UPDATE, 10am: The Concord Police have confirmed that an underground transformer has exploded. No injuries were reported.

UPDATE, 10:47am: Power is slowly coming back on, but we’re hearing several locations near the blast might be without power for the rest of the morning & afternoon.

1 Anon777 October 28, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Well I hope everyone is safe, but can you please knock out the power down by Diamond Blvd, so we can go home for the day!! :)

2 No power October 28, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Our office is at Clayton and Babel and we have no power.

3 Startin Fresh October 28, 2010 at 9:53 AM

it was not fun! i was the one that reported it and my ears are still ringing! the fumes were horrible! made me terribly dizzy! i was surprised that i was able to stand there for about 10 mins waiting for the bus after teh blasts and nobody even stopped to check (meaning PG&E) to make sure that we were ok!

4 Garcia October 28, 2010 at 9:54 AM

If you are near the area, be careful! I got off 242 at clayton road and almost watched a LOT of poeple almost get taken out by morons getting off the freeway who failed to stop. Traffic lights that are off are STOP SIGNS, not a right of way to the busier street or the one with more speed!

5 BART Rider October 28, 2010 at 9:55 AM

No power up near Terminal Center, but Concord BART is not affected.

6 Praise Jesus that ... October 28, 2010 at 10:02 AM

… it was not a 30″ high pressure gas main transmission pipeline.

7 anonamom October 28, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Now they’ve raised it to 5 outages. The seniors’ buildings have backup for hallway lights only, nothing for inside apartments.

8 Brandon October 28, 2010 at 10:11 AM

I think its bullshit that my fiance was standing 10Ft from the blast and no one even checked to see if she was ok. Shows how much people just dont care anymore.

9 Rachel October 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Power is back up!

10 Captain Harrison October 28, 2010 at 10:23 AM

California Street, Concord ca is without power.

11 The Original Anon E. Mouse October 28, 2010 at 10:26 AM

I live right down clayton rd from that mess and I hear NUTHIN!
Clayton side of Meadow homes power was out.
Well maybe the dog did because she was all anxious, I thought it was from the beeping battery backup for the computers. She prolly heard da boom.
Can’t a man sleep in! So I spent the last hour in a nice hot shower. Now I need coffee to make it through to class tonight.
Damn you PG&E! *shakes fist*
Thank goodness, there were no fatalities… next time it might be that big gas line that runs next to meadow homes/freeway!

12 No power October 28, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Our power just came back on.

13 8 outages now ... October 28, 2010 at 10:30 AM

… in Concord:
8 outage(s) affecting 500 to 4999 customer(s)
Cause: Unknown
Status: Awaiting assessment
Start Time of Outage: 10/28/2010 10:19:00 AM
Est. Time of Restoration: Not Available
Last Updated: 10/28/2010 10:19:29 AM

14 Cowellian October 28, 2010 at 10:35 AM

AMEN to #6!

15 concord mom October 28, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Power back on by John Muir Hospital, hopefully everyone is safe and has power back soon

16 bluebird October 28, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Power is back on a little before 10:20 am near Clayton Way/Concord Blvd.

17 BC October 28, 2010 at 10:43 AM

I work in Gateway Buildings with PG&E and we were told power will be out all day. The man hole covers out front were smoky and ashy when we left.

18 BARTman October 28, 2010 at 10:44 AM

“but Concord BART is not affected”

that’s because BART runs on the power drained from its thousand’s of daily customers’ fear, disdain and unfulfilled promises.

19 NiteMom October 28, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I am glad everyone is ok. To the person who reported it, I hope your hearing comes back soon…or the ringing stops….

Does anyone know if this will affect the farmers market tonight?

20 Costco on Monument lost power ... October 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

… and it’s just coming back up now. Computers re-booting.

21 Local Rez October 28, 2010 at 11:17 AM

That’s interesting. Our power was shut down between 12 and 4pm on Tuesday so crews could work on a transformer. I’m near Cowell/Monument/San Miguel.

22 Spearheadmon October 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Just woke up when the power went out, had to start my generator to grind fresh coffee beans and run the electric coffee pot. Just now getting my daily fix of Claycord.com Can’t go without it. Now I’m ready to start my day.

23 anonamom October 28, 2010 at 11:33 AM

There’s always a “funny” (or not) side to these things. You get up to the check out, and two people are looking for a pen to add up 3.59, 3.59, and 2.50. Then you hand them a 20.00, and they say, do you have exact change. No, so out comes the pen again!!!!

24 Cowellian October 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I did get a Nixle Alert from the City.

25 The Original Anon E> Mouse October 28, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Ugh. Just got back from getting coffee. SHOULD have walked.
PEOPLE, reread your CA Driver’s manual!!!
The couple of intersections where the lights are out are HORRIBLE!!!
I felt bad for the old man trying to turn left, everyone was just cutting him off not letting him take his turn.

26 UPDATE: From PG&E: October 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM

4 outage(s) affecting 50 to 499 customer(s)
Cause: Unknown
Status: Awaiting assessment
Start Time of Outage: 10/28/2010 11:37:00 AM
Est. Time of Restoration: Not Available
Last Updated: 10/28/2010 11:47:09 AM

27 SAR October 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM

@ BARTman #18

That is friken’ hillarious! (and true)

28 UPDATE: From PG-n-E: October 28, 2010 at 12:02 PM

4 outage(s) affecting 50 to 499 customer(s)
Cause: Unknown
Status: Awaiting assessment
Start Time of Outage: 10/28/2010 11:37:00 AM
Est. Time of Restoration: Not Available
Last Updated: 10/28/2010 11:47:09 AM

29 Connie Dobbs October 28, 2010 at 12:38 PM

So Brandon, did you check on her? How’s she doing?
Somehow I think she called you before she called PG&E.
You’re right to think she needs a monitor if she’ll stand there huffing fumes for 10 min instead of walking upwind to the next bus stop.

30 Thank Goodness that right after the ... October 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM

… PGE explosion that Nixle blasted everybody an energizing email.

31 Brandons Fiance October 28, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Connie: I am brandons fiance` and i did move further away, i let him know what had happened bcause if it got serious i would need him to come home from work! i attempted to contact PG&E but at the time, ( around 8:30) i could not get a hold of anyone! So yes, i did inform my family. and just an FYI, the next bus stop was not any better… it was right next to the other blast site. im sorry, i was not going to walk 2 miles to a bus stop when i very well may have needed to rush home! trust me there was no huffing involved. the thing that originally aggrivated us both was that the pg&e crews SAW people standing at the bus stop, NODDED at us then proceeded past. they didnt once even stop to give a quick “everyone alright?” or ANYTHING!

to #19: thank you. yeah, have had a throbbing headache all day but the ringing stopped about an hour later.

32 Connie Dobbs October 28, 2010 at 3:17 PM

And did Brandon check on you?
Seriously, this could be a deal-breaker.

33 Brandons Fiance October 28, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Yes! when i told him whathad happened he called me immediately to make sure! trust me! nothin can break this deal! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

34 anonlady October 28, 2010 at 4:10 PM

if your on meadow lane its about a 20 min wait to approach the 242\clayton rd market st\meadow ln intersection. ppl drive like morons when the lights are out- and thats a pretty big intersection. if your not trying to get onto the freeway- backtrack up meadow towards monument, left on sunshine, left on detriot, and right onto clayton rd to avoid the mess. its backed up to mayette.

35 The Original Anon E. Mouse October 28, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Thanks for that update anonlady! I live on that corner of meadow homes and am heading to class at dvc soon. And I agree people not only drive like morons, THEY ARE MORONS! :D

36 jbelkin October 28, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Was just at Park & Shop – power seems to be on but traffic lights are out on the exits to Willow Pass. All the lights further on Willow Pass seem to be on towards PH.

37 ItsAnInsideJob October 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

It is just a matter of time before the antiquated equipment at the Sinclair substation at Port Chicago/Willow Pass blows. Those of us “serviced” (read: threatened by) this substation endure an average of one power failure per month. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve called PG&E to complain…maybe next time they’re out in my ‘hood putting in Smart Meters, I’ll corner them live…for now, early warning everyone…

38 St. Jimmy October 28, 2010 at 8:30 PM


The man or woman that installs the SmartMeters in your ‘hood is a contractor working for PG&E, and probably won’t know where the Sinclair substation is…

39 gjashley October 28, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Brownouts, blackouts, spikes, explosions, fires and failures, Oh My!
Anyone else think this happens too often?
I’ve lived in a lot of places up and down this nation and on foreign shores; and PG&E are without a doubt the *worst* energy provider I’ve had the misfortune to send a large check to every month (and it’s not as if I have a choice!)
I think we are so used to being treated like dirt that we have forgotten what it’s like to be a valued customer; and the CA PUC don’t seem to want to hold this monopoly accountable either.

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