FOLLOWUP: Third day of West Seattle Trader Joe’s closure because of crash-caused power outage

The West Seattle Trader Joe’s is still closed right now, third day since a power outage caused by a flipped-car crash early Saturday, as first reported here that morning. We have new information from Seattle City Light, after a conversation with spokesperson Scott Thomsen. He explains that the crash damaged not only SCL’s “pad-mounted transformer” – in the spot shown in our photo above, on the northeast corner of 39th SW and Fauntleroy Way – but also “some equipment that belongs to the customer” (Trader Joe’s). Thomsen says SCL completed its work, including replacing the transformer, by 7 pm Saturday. The delay since then is because the electrician working on TJ’s equipment has not yet finished fixing it; once they have, Thomsen says, they are ready to reconnect the power. Side note, answering some questions that had come up in the comment discussion: The damaged transformer did NOT contain PCBs: “The transformer that was hit was one of our new ones, containing certified FR3 vegetable oil. No PCBs. We cleaned up the oil that did leak.” We also sent an inquiry to Trader Joe’s this morning and have not yet heard back; if and when we do, we’ll add the information to this story. Meantime, SPD was investigating the crash as a possible case of DUI; Angela caught the crash aftermath on video:

The driver (who SPD says is a 26-year-old man) was taken to the hospital by private ambulance, which indicates his injuries weren’t major.

30 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Third day of West Seattle Trader Joe's closure because of crash-caused power outage"

  • M December 4, 2017 (10:32 am)

    This has got to be tough for the workers. It would be interesting to know if TJ’s will be paying workers for hours missed because of this. I’m sure their insurance covers such an expense? And right before the holidays. If they need extra help getting their perishable expiring stuff to a food bank, maybe we can also rally the community to make that happen. I’ve seen them loading items into a van out front before. I imagine the donation will be especially large this week. 

    • Dan December 4, 2017 (4:39 pm)

      From the previous comments that I just read, an employee said they still get paid for the hours they were scheduled for, though no doubt hours will be reduced at this point?

      • jumbo_joe December 5, 2017 (6:48 am)

        Seattle’s secure scheduling ordinance has made employers give their employees work schedules at minimum 2 weeks out so if that is accurate they should be ok. The amount of sales the WSea TJs generates leads me to believe they aren’t going to slash labor as soon as they re-open, considering how many man hours are going to be needed to get it restocked and ready for the public. 

    • JSC December 5, 2017 (10:58 am)

      WHAT??????? takes an electrical company 3 days and counting. Who are these people???

  • Amy December 4, 2017 (10:36 am)

    I wonder if all their frozen inventory had to be thrown out. All that ice cream down the drain? :(

  • dsa December 4, 2017 (11:06 am)

    Thanks Tracy for clarifying whose panel or “other equipment” got blown out.

  • Heather December 4, 2017 (12:11 pm)

    Well, I’m awaiting the re-opening. I can’t seem to shake my craving for those Crispy Mochi Nugget things… like chips but better, people.

  • Shockley December 4, 2017 (12:30 pm)

    “I’ll just have one more drink … what could it hurt?”

  • Triangle Resident December 4, 2017 (2:48 pm)

    I’m hoping that with the Gateway being revamped, that the city will seriously discuss the need to underground the utility infrastructure.  A car accident should not put a business or a large multifamily apartment complex in a situation that they have no power.  I realize that the necessary part is not the cities property but on this heavily traveled road eliminating utility failure potential is critical.  Bury all of the wires and eliminate the poles and transformer boxes now!

    • Swede. December 4, 2017 (2:58 pm)

      That would be way to big of a step to become modern. I mean, that’s been the case in Europe for 40+ years. Too soon. 

    • Charlie December 5, 2017 (4:36 pm)

      Whoa! Next you’ll be suggesting we take our power wires off wooden poles and put them underground so they can’t get blown over by high winds. You kids, with your crazy ideas…

      • Question Authority December 7, 2017 (8:26 am)

        It will just raise the rates 3 fold, that’s all until the costs are recouped years and years later, and nobody wants their street and yard dug up.

  • Swede. December 4, 2017 (2:59 pm)

    It’s interesting how localized it is. Just drove by earlier today and both the body shop on one side and LA Fittness on the other both have power…

  • Swedish? December 4, 2017 (3:36 pm)


    From WSB story, “Thomsen says SCL completed its work, including replacing the transformer, by 7 pm Saturday.”

    • Swede. December 4, 2017 (5:13 pm)

      Noticed that later on. Makes sense that it’s internal damage @ TJ”s that got only them out. 

  • trickycoolj December 4, 2017 (4:38 pm)

    Shoot.  I’m out of Pfeffernusse!  If only we had an Aldi.

  • Dan December 4, 2017 (4:42 pm)

    I headed to Trader Joe’s a couple days ago and was surprised to see it closed, I had no idea what happened until I saw these posts today. I just assumed they were renovating.. hope they get back online soon. Glad I found this before driving there again today.

  • TJ December 4, 2017 (8:32 pm)

    I can tell those that want underground utilities that the cost would be astronomical to start moving electrical underground. As far as TJ’s closure, it’s really hard to figure out 3 days for what was a fairly minor accident. I don’t care about having to order some strange part. This is a big city. I certainly can see how a EMT weapon would devestate Seattle. See how society breaks down when the stores are empty in a day. We would be on our own fast. 

    • WSB December 4, 2017 (8:58 pm)

      I have no confirmation that it was “a part,” strange or otherwise. Only that City Light says it’s done its part and the rest of it is equipment owned by TJ’s. I finally heard back from a company executive this afternoon – only saying that I needed to contact their PR person. No contact info provided, just a name, but I’ll track her down.

  • KD December 4, 2017 (8:51 pm)

    Folks.. uh, there’s the Trader Joe’s down in Burien (where we all went before WSea one opened) if you are desperate!

    • Diane December 5, 2017 (12:18 am)

      nope, I always went to Queen Anne

  • WS December 4, 2017 (9:09 pm)

    Tonight the Safeway 2 blocks up were out of so much I realized the impact TJ’s had on the community.  Yea, if you love them, make the trek to Burien or be adventurous and visit the one in Ballard with the wonderful Fred Meyers (something I dream of having here).

    • Alki Resident December 4, 2017 (11:06 pm)

      There’s a Fred Meyers right in Burien. 

    • Diane December 5, 2017 (12:21 am)

      or Queen Anne Trader Joe’s, way closer than Ballard

  • Anonymous December 4, 2017 (10:47 pm)

    So just to brief everyone, we were able to donate a large amount of our frozen and dairy. On another note, we probably won’t have power until tomorrow 3 p.m. we are waiting on said electrician  to fix our Trader Joe’s equipment that is connected to our transformer. Obviously you have to put into the equation that trader joes contracts and that we need specific parts for our stores. Please stay patient. 

    • WSB December 4, 2017 (10:49 pm)

      Thanks for the update! Going to and from tonight’s water-break scene, we noticed the building still dark.

  • Triangle Resident December 5, 2017 (12:38 pm)

    Actually, one year of property taxes on the Whitaker would pay for the under ground bill from 35th  to Fauntleroy.  Not astronomical and totally doable.  The city insisted the Whitaker under ground their utilities but the new fire station didn’t have to.  What’s the reasoning behind that?

    • Question Authority December 7, 2017 (8:23 am)

      Because as critical infrastructure the Fire Station electrical system can be fixed faster because you can see the fault, underground is hidden and requires digging as a rule.

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