Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Gusty winds blamed for thousands of outages in LA area

Los Angeles Times: Gusty winds knocked down electrical wires and blew several transformers Monday, causing outages to nearly 10,000 homes and businesses amid concerns that weather conditions could prompt a Christmas fire. The winds hampered firefighter's efforts to douse a blaze that gutted a historic church in Hollywood, said city Fire Department spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies.

No one was injured in the fire, which destroyed the Little Country Church of Hollywood, made famous in the 1930s by a Tennessee preacher who broadcast his sermons on national radio. Officials were investigating the cause, Davies said.

Dry Santa Ana winds, combined with low humidity prompted the National Weather Service to issue a "red flag" warning, indicating that conditions will be ripe for brush fires through Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, some 9,900 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were without power, mostly in the San Fernando Valley and city's west side, utility spokeswoman Carol Tucker said. Crews were working to restore power, Tucker said. At least eight transformers exploded and some street signals were out, Davies said.

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