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Transformer Explosion Leads to 3 Deaths in CA

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

UPDATED INFORMATION  РA 17-year-old girl witnessed part of the electrocution of three family members, killed Friday morning by a fallen power line in their San Bernardino backyard, a fire captain said.

The girl told investigators that her stepfather, Steven Vego, 44, went to the backyard to inspect some small fires caused by the downed line and fanned by high winds, while her mother, Sharon Vego, 43, went to the frontyard to try to put out a possible fire there, officials said.

Investigators said they believe that Sharon Vego then heard a loud explosion from behind the house and hurried to the backyard, where she found her husband and son. They believe she was electrocuted as she tried to help them.

Firefighters found Sharon Vego on top of her son, Jonathan Cole, 21, and her husband lying nearby. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Firefighters had to wait about 15 minutes for Southern California Edison crews to arrive and cut power to the fallen line before they could reach the victims, said San Bernardino city Fire Dept. Capt. Mike Bilheimer.

The 17-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother were in the house, and the girl, who saw part of the accident, called 911 about 5:46 a.m., Bilheimer said.

The Fire Department received several calls early Friday morning from residents in the 5400 block of Acacia Avenue reporting downed power lines, fires and power outages.

San Bernardino Police Lt. Jarrod Burguan said winds were gusting up to 40 mph in the area Thursday night, and investigators strongly believe that the winds caused the fallen line.

Southern California Edison was leading the investigation. About 200 homes in the neighborhood were still without power Friday morning

San Bernadino, CA – A transformer explosion during high winds preceded this morning’s electrocution of three people in the backyard of their San Bernardino home.

“They heard the explosion, and they went out to look,” said Battalion Chief Paul Drasil. “There was a small fire in the front yard and a small fire in the backyard.”

Fire crews were summoned at 5:47 a.m. to the beige single-story stucco home along the 5400 block of Acacia Avenue in the Northpark section of San Bernardino. First responders were told to expect a possible electrocution with power lines down.

A family of five lives in the home, Drasil said. Two were unharmed.

The explosion knocked out power to 2,700 customers, according to initial reports.

There was also damage at a house two doors away.

“One (power) line that broke fell into the pool,” said resident Janet Vilchis. “It made a big old explosion, and it ruptured one of the water lines.

“Water was coming from underneath the house.”

Names of the dead have not been released. San Bernardino police Sgt. John Diaz said the coroner has been notified.

Story via Richard Brooks pe.com

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