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Electrical Vault Fire Sparks Evacuation of Dozens of Businesses and Homes, Tangles Traffic

Published on Friday, July 23, 2021 | 6:54 pm
(Photo courtesy of Pasadena Fire Dept.)

An underground electrical vault fire caused evacuations, street closures and a power outage in the South Lake area of Pasadena Friday evening, but no damage to buildings or injuries.

The incident began with the report of an electrical fire at 528 S. Lake Avenue at 5:30 p.m., records show.

City spokesperson Lisa Derderian said piles of leaves inside a vent leading to the vault were ignited by a discarded cigarette, starting the fire and sending smoke rising in front of several businesses.

(Photo courtesy Pasadena Fire Dept.)

The fire prompted evacuations of 24 addresses including nearby homes and businesses. The area includes many retailers and restaurants, including Macy’s, Ross Dress for Less and T.J.Maxx.

“I was at The Arbour [restaurant] also and was evacuated. I got a free dinner though,” E. Polk said on Pasadena Now’s Facebook page.

South Lake Avenue was closed between East California Boulevard and San Pasqual Street for over 2 hours, creating significant congestion in the heavily trafficked area.

As of about 6:30 p.m., Pasadena firefighters were waiting for the power to the vault to be shut off before they could begin extinguishing the fire, City News Service reported.

The blaze was knocked down and power restored to the area shortly before 8 p.m., according to reports.

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