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Freak storms leave some cities without power

October 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lightning caused scattered power outages and several tree fires in Fullerton Friday morning.

As of 9:30 p.m., Southern California Edison said they made significant progress restoring power to 5,358 customers left without electricity.

They said they can't estimate when full power will be restored by crews, but they'll work through the night to restore it as quickly as possible.

A series of lightning strikes above Altadena rattled hikers and bikers Friday.

"Out of nowhere, I see a flash and just feel the electricity of this lightning strike. I could see just electric charges all around me," said Bobby D'Amico, an off-duty firefighter who was riding his bike on a trail above Altadena Friday.

"I was hearing thunder a little bit here and there, rumbling in the distance."

His legs locked up.

"It was almost like a convulsive state," said D'Amico. "My jaw was numb and vibrating, my whole body was vibrating, I just couldn't get my stance -- no stability in my legs, in my heart, in anything. Everything was just electrified."

Hikers nearby felt it too, but all escaped without injury.

In Pomona, the owner of Hometown Rentals heard a crash.

"All of the sudden, we're underneath this metal canopy discussing our equipment situation, and it was 'Ba-boom!' -- a huge lightning strike hit this pole here, and just shook us to our cores," said the owner.

Lightning struck transformers, setting them on fire. Power was out in Pomona and Covina for two hours Friday.

In Fontana, a construction worker was hit on a crane near Kaiser Permanente Hospital. Paramedics found him conscious and breathing. He was treated for minor burns and released.

"We get all this instruction on what to do on a fire, what do in an earthquake. What do you do when you're on top of a mountain and lightning strikes?" said D'Amico the firefighter.

Lightning set a palm tree on fire on North Highland Ave. in Fullerton Friday morning.

Les Bidrawn was about to get into his car just after 9 a.m. beneath the tree when the lightning struck.

"Touched my car, all the hair on my arm starts standing up. And then, 'Boom!' I'm in the bushes, I'm looking up, and my palm tree's on fire," said Bidrawn. He was not injured, but his ears were ringing.

"I think it's just the concussion from the explosion," said Bidrawn. "It was unbelievable. Never heard anything like that."

The storm caused a power outage at the Fullerton courthouse. Firefighters were trying to remove people from stuck elevators.

There was an accident at Lemon Street and Orangefair Avenue because of a traffic light that wasn't working.

Parts of Fullerton, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Santa Ana and Stanton all lost power due to the storm Friday.

The Southland is experiencing more wild weather with rain, thunder and lightning as thunderstorms pass through.

Officials said a storm is approaching Pomona.

In Rancho Cucamonga, residents went through a noisy night of rain, wind, thunder and lightning.

The rumbling could be heard as powerful storms moved across Riverside County.

In Corona, there was quite a light show as big bolts of lightning lit up the sky. When lightning strikes, it increases the danger of brush fires.

Fortunately, no fires broke out in the area Thursday night.

Strong gusts of wind whipped through Frazier Park. Along with the winds, drivers travelling on the I-5 Freeway through the Grapevine were hit with rainfall. The rain didn't last a long time, but it did make the roads a little slippery for drivers.

In San Diego County, a series of thunderstorms dumped rain and lightning. The lightning strikes touched off some fires.

San Diego firefighters were kept busy knocking down those blazes. None of the fires developed into serious problems.

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