Mylar balloons cause power line break

EL CAJON (CNS) – Mylar balloons that got tangled in an overhead power
cable in an East County neighborhood caused it to overload, break and fall onto
the road Tuesday, setting fire to a row of parked cars and leaving thousands of
homes and businesses temporarily without electrical service.

The non-injury incident in the 200 block of Lincoln Avenue in El Cajon
occurred shortly after 7 a.m., according to San Diego Gas & Electric.

The live 12-kilovolt power line fell onto a line of parked vehicles,
scorching and burning them until utility crews were able to deactivate it,
SDG&E spokesman Hanan Eisenman said.

Police advised residents in the immediate area to stay indoors until the
ruptured distribution cable was no longer a threat.

The mishap initially left 2,116 addresses without electrical service. By
late morning, SDG&E personnel had restored power to all but 948 of them,
according to Eisenman. Those customers were expected to be back on line by late
afternoon, he said.

Because they conduct electricity, Mylar balloons are an “ongoing
problem for overhead power lines,” Eisenman said. Utility officials ask people
who use the decorative toys to keep them indoors and deflate them before
trashing them, the spokesman noted.

SDG&E sent claims adjusters to the neighborhood to inspect the 10
damaged vehicles and discuss reimbursement procedures with the owners, Eisenman

Authorities initially said a transformer in the neighborhood had
exploded, but it was unclear if those early reports were accurate, according to

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