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Freeways Reopen After Fire, PG&E Repairs

The fire, touched off when a car hit a power pole, burned about two acres in the Oakland hills Friday afternoon. Several thousand PG&E customers lost power.

Bay City News—PG&E completed repair work early this morning that forced the closure of two freeways in Oakland since around 11 p.m. Friday, according to the California Highway Patrol. The electrical work was necessary following a three-alarm brush fire Friday afternoon in the Oakland hills, a company spokeswoman said.

The closures of Interstate Highway 580 and state Highway 13 were supposed to happen at 9 p.m., but PG&E needed more time to start restringing the power lines, PG&E spokeswoman Jana Morris said. The freeways were reopened by 12:30 a.m. today.

The closures impacted westbound Highway 580 at 98th Avenue, including the Keller and Edwards Avenue ramps, and eastbound Highway 580 at Seminary Avenue. Southbound state Highway 13 was also closed at Mountain Boulevard, according to CHP.

The fire, reported around 1:45 p.m., triggered evacuations along Altura Place and Rifle Lane, where some homes were threatened, according to Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton.

Firefighters faced dry conditions, steep terrain and moderate winds but were ultimately able to limit the fire to about two acres and contain it by about 3:15 p.m. without injury or structural damage, Drayton said. They remained on the scene into the night to make sure the fire did not reignite, Drayton said.

The fire appears to have started when a car struck a power pole near Mountain Boulevard and Edwards Avenue, bringing down several power lines, Drayton said.

Community members should be aware that conditions will grow more dangerous this weekend, and precautions should be taken to avoid fires, she said.

"We're expecting higher winds tomorrow and hotter temperatures," Drayton said.

The fire also caused a power outage affecting an estimated 6,700 customers. As of 8 p.m., all customers had their power restored, Morris said.

Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Jim Faison June 09, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Hard to pinpoint location until you mentioned Rifle Lane and Altura Place. Edwards to Keller, and affecting US 580 and Highway 13 too, made it hard to draw a picture of what happened. Was the auto on the frontage road or on highway 580 westbound, which seems to be the case when the smaller streets were mentioned. If the power was turned back on by 8PM, what was PG&E doing until 12:30AM on the 9th of June? Was that a line that crossed 580? Still unclear, maybe a 'driveby' will help. Son, wife and baby came here at 3PM in Crocker until power was restored; they called PG&E to find out, then went home.

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