Update: West Seattle power outage blamed on ‘pole fire’

(Screen grab of what City Light showed at the peak of this morning’s outage)
2:16 AM, FIRST REPORT: After seeing a “wires down” call on 31st SW turn up on the 911 log, we started checking the Seattle City Light system-status map to see if anyone was out of power. Nothing has ever shown on the map, but we’ve received a few scattered reports of power having been out for an indeterminate amount of time – California/Juneau, High Point, Fairmount. If you happened to notice yours go out, let us know where and for how long – thanks!

2:26 AM UPDATE: We have a Beach Drive outage report via Twitter. Our power has not gone out, not even a flicker, here in Upper Fauntleroy, for what it’s worth. (One minute later) It’s now on the map – City Light says 1,340+ customers (homes/businesses) affected but that may be an underestimate, since their map isn’t showing areas in Alki where we’re hearing from people.

2:38 AM UPDATE: Now we’re getting reports it’s back on, at least for some. Thanks to everybody for the comments, texts (206-293-6302 any time, which is also our 24/7 voice line), tweets, Facebook posts, etc. – since the SCL map lagged on this one, your alerts are how we got the word AND that in turn helped inform everyone else out there that it wasn’t just them. Whenever we find out what caused this, we’ll add the info – not sure if that info will be available over the weekend, but we’ll try.

3:10 AM UPDATE: High Point and vicinity reports being back on. City Light map, meantime, is definitely lagging, because now it shows what must have been the peak of the outage – more than 4,700 homes/businesses out – a bit earlier. We’re taking a screengrab and will add it atop this story, for posterity’s sake.

3:20 AM UPDATE: City Light news release confirms the peak tally of 4,700+ and indeed blames it on the “wires down” incident, now described as a “pole fire” near SW Findlay/30th SW.

82 Replies to "Update: West Seattle power outage blamed on 'pole fire'"

  • S June 9, 2012 (2:21 am)

    Power went out just before 2:00 on 35th and Juneau and came back at 2:15 only to go off again a minute or so ago. :-(

  • JanS June 9, 2012 (2:22 am)

    I’m a block and a half west of the Fairmount ravine…and I’m fine here. Interesting, weird, random places..

  • JanS June 9, 2012 (2:23 am)

    never mind…you meant over by Fairmount Elementary..duh !

  • Thomas June 9, 2012 (2:24 am)

    Just went out at 36th and Raymond

  • Nichole June 9, 2012 (2:24 am)

    Alki 60th just went out

  • April June 9, 2012 (2:24 am)

    Went out at California & Graham from 2-2:15 and still on now.

  • kris Holm June 9, 2012 (2:26 am)

    Lights and everything else out at 2:22 here at 49th and Alaska. glad to have my iPad nearby. Thanks for posting so quickly.

  • liz June 9, 2012 (2:26 am)

    Power out on Alki

  • Erin June 9, 2012 (2:27 am)

    Just lost power at 59th & Admiral. Best estimates for range, eta 5 minutes.

  • BV0621 June 9, 2012 (2:27 am)

    Power out at 2:20 am Genesse Hill

  • Jessep June 9, 2012 (2:28 am)

    Power just went out down at 63rd & Admiral a few minutes ago. Wtf?

  • Coley June 9, 2012 (2:29 am)

    Friend of mine lives by Alki on 61st, hers is out.

  • ESP June 9, 2012 (2:29 am)

    Power out at Andover and 51st

  • GAnative June 9, 2012 (2:29 am)

    just went out at 53rd and Dakota

  • Quiz June 9, 2012 (2:29 am)

    Power just went out at California/Graham in Seaview at 2:25.

  • Erin June 9, 2012 (2:29 am)

    Power completely out from Alki Point to 57th. This from upper SW Hanford view.

  • k & f June 9, 2012 (2:30 am)

    Woke up to some noise outside a few minutes ago, then realized the power was out in “Upper Alki”…59th & Spokane.

  • H D June 9, 2012 (2:30 am)

    I am on 35th and Juneau. The power is still down. It went out few minutes ago, around 2:15 am.

  • emcat8 June 9, 2012 (2:30 am)

    It went out about 2:15 for me, a few blocks from Morgan junction

  • Me June 9, 2012 (2:30 am)

    50th and Dawson in seaview

  • Findlay June 9, 2012 (2:31 am)

    Ditto at 34th & Findlay! :(

  • FG June 9, 2012 (2:31 am)

    Power out on 38th and Raymond

  • John Burkholder June 9, 2012 (2:31 am)

    Power went out at 2:15 am and remains out as of this posting at the corner of Graham.and 37th. Thanks.

  • steve June 9, 2012 (2:32 am)

    Yup, its dark , and I don’t mean its night time. 46 th and Juneau.

  • strange_owl June 9, 2012 (2:32 am)

    power is out at Charlestown & 50s

  • Wssw June 9, 2012 (2:32 am)

    Our power is out at 49th and Juneau. Just got up to check on kids and it’s dark, dark, dark.

  • CW June 9, 2012 (2:32 am)

    Power out as far as I can see in both directions at 45th and Juneau.

  • Daryl Schilke June 9, 2012 (2:32 am)

    Power is out in Alki… Some power along Admiral way but not much. 59th and Hanford…

  • Amy June 9, 2012 (2:32 am)

    Power is still out here on 37th & Juneau

  • Pamela Sampel June 9, 2012 (2:33 am)

    Power out In Seaview south of 47th ave SW and SW Juneau. (north of here power still seems to be on). Went out about 12 minutes ago.

  • HT June 9, 2012 (2:34 am)

    Power outage on Calif. and Fauntleroy. Seattle city says over 4,000 affected.

  • Erin June 9, 2012 (2:34 am)

    Can’t see how far west. But power grid at 57th and east seems fine. West of that appears to be out from North side of Gennessee.

  • T June 9, 2012 (2:34 am)

    Its out at 48th and Graham

  • Rich June 9, 2012 (2:35 am)

    All of Genesee hill seems to be out.

  • K June 9, 2012 (2:35 am)

    38th between Raymond and Juneau is dark. And I heard what sounded like a gunshot or firecracker about 30 min ago. Related?

  • Alkigirl June 9, 2012 (2:36 am)

    Power went out about 5 mins ago at 62nd and Stevens. All neighbors and street lights appear to be out. Unable to get thru to City Light to report.

  • HT June 9, 2012 (2:36 am)

    Now at 2:36 power is coming back on.

  • Alkigirl June 9, 2012 (2:37 am)

    Off here on 62nd and Stevens about 14 mins ago. Back on now. Hopefully to stay!! Thanks WSB.

  • Jessep June 9, 2012 (2:38 am)

    Power is back on down in Alki! :D

  • Erin June 9, 2012 (2:38 am)

    Power tentatively back. Who was the other person talking to me on Admiral ?

  • Tyler June 9, 2012 (2:39 am)

    A long stretch of 35th ave north from Raymond is dark. That area is not on the SCL map.

    EDIT: Seems to be out only at 35th and Juneau now.

  • Dale Moore June 9, 2012 (2:39 am)

    Back on 50th Ave SW :)

  • beardo June 9, 2012 (2:39 am)

    Power went out about 2:15 on fauntleroy near juneau. looks out in both directions. street lights must run on another line…

  • C June 9, 2012 (2:41 am)

    Power went out on 50th and Dakota around 2:30 for about 5 minutes.

  • Sleepless in Seaview June 9, 2012 (2:41 am)

    Our power went out around 2:15 or 2:20ish, 49th and Juneau, and has just come back on – about 20 min out in total! Not too bad… Thanks SCL and WSB!!

  • BV0621 June 9, 2012 (2:42 am)

    Back on in Genesse Hill. Why are we all awake anyway?

    • WSB June 9, 2012 (2:44 am)

      BV0621 – well, it’s my job to be awake in the middle of the night when power goes out, helicopters show up, etc., (and to catch up on writing unwritten stories, which is what I HAD been doing) – but I’m not sure about everyone else! One guy who called our 24/7 line (206-293-6302) said he had work to do, too … TR

  • pamela sampel June 9, 2012 (2:43 am)

    Power back on in Seaview, 47th ave SW and SW Juneau-2:40 a.m.

  • steve June 9, 2012 (2:45 am)

    2:38 and its back on at 46th and Juneau. Wow, there are more people up then I would have thought.

  • Wssw June 9, 2012 (2:46 am)

    Back on at 49th and Juneau

  • beardo June 9, 2012 (2:52 am)

    Still out on Fauntleroy

    • WSB June 9, 2012 (2:53 am)

      Thanks – Fauntleroy and where?

  • beardo June 9, 2012 (2:55 am)

    Back on!

  • Danny McMillin June 9, 2012 (3:03 am)

    My dog came into the bedroom and woke me up at 2:15 and I noticed the power was out (Alki Point). I think the backup battery alarm for my computer may have got our Airedale’s attention. I was able to safely power down my Mac while the power was out thanks to our ever vigilant terrier, Keegan!

    Oh, and yes, power’s back on.

  • Ross June 9, 2012 (3:04 am)

    I can confirm that a SCL crew has been running a chainsaw for the last 1/2 hour, just west of 30th Ave SW on Findlay…woke me up and I had to see who the H$!L would be running a chainsaw at 2:45 in the morning. Appears they are doing some work on a pole with a transformer on it. Incidentally, power is on 1/2 block away here on 30th Ave SW.

    • WSB June 9, 2012 (3:09 am)

      Ross – you are probably close to the “wires down” original call, then (5400 block 31st SW).

  • Findlay June 9, 2012 (3:05 am)

    Back on at 34th & Findlay!!

  • Andrew June 9, 2012 (3:07 am)

    Just returned on 38th, North of Morgan.

  • Dz June 9, 2012 (3:13 am)

    Thanks for the info WSB. BTW– TR, when do you get to sleep? ;-)

    • WSB June 9, 2012 (3:16 am)

      Later in the morning. Co-publisher is the early watch, has always been an early riser, I’ve always been a night owl. Works out in cases like this.

  • West Seattleite June 9, 2012 (3:29 am)

    Nice response by City Light.

  • Donna June 9, 2012 (6:26 am)

    Anybody else having Comcast TV problems? Mine won’t work. Remote doesn’t work (not the batteries), power to TV stays on but says no signal on a gray screen, power to box won’t come on. Technician coming between 8-9. This is at 49th and Dawson and we did have the power outage.

  • sam-c June 9, 2012 (8:03 am)

    lol- was also surprised to see 61 comments on a middle of the night story about a power outage. i would have slept through it

  • MJ June 9, 2012 (8:08 am)

    We were out from 1:45 until 2:00 am – Findlay and 44th

  • Julie June 9, 2012 (8:35 am)

    52nd and Genesee – we lost power for 10 minutes 2:27 to 2:37. have UPS in the house and was alerted as soon as it happened.

  • Donna June 9, 2012 (9:32 am)

    Comcast technician came and went. Power outage fried the box.

  • K June 9, 2012 (10:14 am)

    51st and Edmonds went dark 0230 ish and was out 15 min. I to would have slept right though but our big German Shepherd alerted us to the fact alarm clock and computer went out.

    Love the big guy

  • RobJ June 9, 2012 (10:21 am)

    Alkigirl… How you doing? ;)

  • Where's the party? June 9, 2012 (11:11 am)

    Okay, that’s pretty sad when the only happening on a Friday Night in WS is a power outage. WooHoo!

  • miws June 9, 2012 (11:40 am)

    K, your Shepherd uses a computer and alarm clock?!? ;-)



  • Where's the party? June 9, 2012 (1:14 pm)

    Send that Shepherd to college!

  • Josh June 9, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    The cause of the outage was that SCL put a new pole to close to the old one.Then they cut the brand new pole and left it by the street.This is your tax dollars at work!

  • Not a newbie June 9, 2012 (3:43 pm)

    City Light is not supported by taxes. In fact, it’s one of the main contributors to the General Fund, which means your taxes are less because of it.

    It always helps to know something about what you propose to opine upon. Otherwise, you end up looking foolish.

  • lt fd June 9, 2012 (3:59 pm)

    Josh, your analysis of the incident is inane.
    A power line burned through due to a short to ground, causing the line to fall down (probably/maybe also causing a high voltage ground condition on the feeder servicing that part of West Seattle- due to the ungrounded delta configuration of the electrical distribution system). “A new pole to(o) close to the old one” was not the cause.
    Also, stating “This is your tax dollars at work!”, makes no sense. Your police, fire department/Medic One, schools, road/freeway repair, etc. are your tax dollars at work. City Light is a revenue generating entity, not a tax-funded city department.

    • WSB June 9, 2012 (4:48 pm)

      Sorry I didn’t see this sooner, would normally have caught a comment making an allegation that hasn’t been substantiated. But it’s there and there’s a rebuttal so I’ll note one other thing – I haven’t added it to the story yet but someone sent us a photo via Twitter of the pole with basically a burnt core, will be adding it soon.

  • Ooontzz June 9, 2012 (7:06 pm)

    Lt fd,

    What would cause the core of the new utility pole which had no wires attached to it yet to burn while the current utility pole went seemingly undamaged? I’m trying to figure out how the explanation you provided above would lead to all the damage in the core of a pole carrying no wires?

  • Not a newbie June 9, 2012 (9:20 pm)

    Retired after 35 years at PSE here, so no particular dog in the fight.. Let me hazard a guess….

    They placed a new pole to replace an old one. The new pole wasn’t protected with insulators and a grounding wire yet. (nothing wrong with that – it takes a totally different set of skills to plant a pole than it does to transfer the wires over)

    The wire(s) failed, and hit the first thing to connect to ground, which would be the new pole, and which explains the burned core. Basic physics, and a whole lot better than you, me, or a dog on Queen Anne (sorry, couldn’t refuse the dig)

  • GAnative June 11, 2012 (9:41 am)

    I was up because our carbon monoxide detector beeps when it loses power. I first thought it was the smoke detector and got up to see what was going on while everyone else in the house slept right thru it. When I realized the power was out I got my cell phone to call and report it but checked here first and didn’t need to. Thanks WSB!!!

  • Josh June 11, 2012 (5:54 pm)

    Thanks for saying my post was inane,I guess you were sitting there with me that night waiting for 45 min to get down my street watching this happen.SCL probably cut down the pole they had just put up a week ago to keep their chainsaw skills sharp.And I guess the brackets they put up today to move the lines out farther are only for decoration.And if anyone knows how I can get XMT license plate on my non government vehicle like SCL has on their’s, let me know.Thanks

  • Not a newbie June 11, 2012 (9:49 pm)

    Josh, calm down. You’re way too defensive.

    City Light is a city department, hence the XMT plates you obsess about. But they are required to set rates that cover their expenses. Hence, they are self-supporting. It’s not that complicated.

    The revenue part comes in from the franchise fees and utility taxes they generate. That all goes to the general fund, which helps pay for services.

    As for the rest of it, go through the apprenticeship program and get your Journeymen’s card, then you’ll be able to understand what it is you’re looking at. In the meantime, stick to my original advice.

  • Jan Keating June 17, 2012 (2:00 pm)

    Any one have a short outage today, Sunday 6/17/12 at aprox 9:13 am?

Sorry, comment time is over.