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Anaheim Power Surge and Fires Rout Residents


As many as 210 Anaheim residents were evacuated from their homes Sunday night after a power surge caused small fires in their neighborhood.

No one was hurt, but the residents of 39 homes in a three-block area near Elder Street and State College Boulevard were asked to leave their homes, said Tim Butler, Anaheim fire battalion chief.

Three hours after the problem was reported, the residents remained on the streets in front of their homes, waiting to see if they could reenter, Butler said. The American Red Cross was trying to set up a shelter, possibly at Katella High School.

Edward Gallegos, a fire dispatch supervisor, said his center received a call at 7:10 p.m. reporting an electric line down at 530 S. Elder St.

About a dozen homes lost power immediately.

Crews found the line in the street, and a smoking power cord to a washing machine, indicating that the downed line was creating the potential for fires in nearby houses.

Fire officials quickly learned that there was a power surge. The current overpowered some appliances, causing small fires, he said.

"It's not unheard-of, but it is certainly unusual," Butler said.

As a result of the surge, additional electric lines fell on cable television lines, further creating a danger of fires.

A dispatcher at the city's utility company, Anaheim Public Utilities, said it was unclear why the surge occurred.

The streets affected were: Elder Street, Dorchester Street and Santa Ana Boulevard.

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