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Wind knocks down trees, power lines in SoCal

November 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
High winds blew through Southern California and caused a lot of damage on Thursday. Dozens of homes in Chino Hills were without power Thursday night after a massive pine tree fell over, crushing power lines and cutting off electricity to the surrounding homes.

Officials issued a high wind advisory across Southern California, including Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

In Ontario, some power lines snapped, sparking a fire near the 10 Freeway along the 800 block of N. Vineyard Avenue.The flames threatened homes for a time.

Ontario resident Gabriela Luna said she just grabbed her 3-month-old daughter and got out of the house as fast as she could.

"Something fell and then I heard a big boom. I was doing something and the electricity went off, and then I heard a big crackling noise in the backyard. All the brushes by the freeway started catching on fire," said Luna.

"We heard a big pow, and everything went dead. We had no power. We had no phone. My husband ran outside and there was smoke coming from these trees, so intense, I could feel the heat, " said resident Mary Wubker.

While Ontario firefighters put out the flames, police officers kept residents away from power lines that snapped.

Residents were told that the power should be back by the afternoon.

The wind may have caused the power lines to snap, but it also blew the flames away from the homes. No homes were damaged.

"It took it away from the homes, but it also blew embers on the other side of the freeway. We had to have other units over there," said Capt. Mike Mondrino of the Ontario Fire Department.

The high winds caused other problems in the Inland Empire. Trees were blown over, blocking streets in Highland. It was risky at times for drivers, especially those in high-profile vehicles.

Truck drivers in Fontana parked on the side of the freeway to take a break from the windy conditions early Thursday morning.

"You can feel the gusts. You've got to watch out for whose beside you in the next lane, even the cars in front of you, because when the gust comes, especially under the bridges, it will hit and it will force you into the other lane," said driver Rob Spilker.

Gusty conditions sent trees dancing in some areas and strong wind in Tarzana left a huge old tree in one backyard on its last legs. It pushed the tree over into power lines, which were the only thing holding it up.

"We got worried immediately about the fact that it might start a fire, pull down the power lines," said the homeowner.

Southland residents said they were playing it safe in traffic due to the wind.

"Its pretty strong. I live in Glendale and its even stronger there," said Honey Arelino. "You just drive slow."

Down in Fullerton, a tree toppled onto two parked cars at a nursing home. No one was injured.

At the Village of Orange Farmers Market fewer than average tents filled the lot. Vendors that did come out anchored their tents with their own body weight to keep them from becoming airborne.

With the wind advisory in place, residents can expect wind gusts between 35 to 50 mph.


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