March 18, 2023

OUTAGE: Bay Area substation fire wreaks havoc on Northern California residents

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Tens of thousands are currently without power after a PG&E substation caught fire in Northern California’s Bay area leaving over 50,000 Oakland residents in the dark.

According to reports flights to and from Oakland International Airport were grounded amid the power outage.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Oakland Fire Department announced the fire at a substation near the intersection of 50th Avenue and Coliseum Way via Twitter with a map of affected areas.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) was forced to suspend airport service – offering ground transportation as a substitute for inconvenienced travelers.

“All of Oakland Airport at a standstill,” digital media producer Matt Ashlock tweeted. “TSA Agents saying this has never happened before. Saying no flights are gonna leave while it’s like this.”

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There have been no reports yet as to whether the fire was intentional or an accident, but the timing of the power outage does raise questions after multiple reports of attacks on substations in the Pacific Northwest and Southern states by alleged neo-Nazis.

In November, several substations in Washington and Oregon were reported by local news stations prior to a major outage caused in rural North Carolina in early December.

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It was that attack – that left approximately 45,000 residents without power for days – that heightened the public’s awareness of a possible coordinated attack by far-right chaos agents wanting to take the country’s divisive and partisan culture wars to an increasingly violent level, drawing attention to similar attacks on the other side of the country.

“In November and early December of last year, as the attacks accelerated, the FBI warned utilities of an increase in threats from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists,” said Conrad Wilson of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

As an uptick in political violence and rhetoric spreads across the country, the lines between words and actions become increasingly blurred.

On Sunday, several law enforcement agencies were called to the Conrail railroad tracks after an 18-inch pipe bomb was discovered in a Philadephia neighborhood.

This comes two weeks after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio – located on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border – releasing cancer-causing agents into the atmosphere.

Police arrived on the scene, located behind St. Dominic’s Catholic Church on Frankford Ave, shortly after 1:30 p.m. and disarmed the explosive device without injury.

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There has been no confirmation as to whether the incidents are connected.

Oakland International was reopened shortly after being shut down as a result of the power outage.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our most important responsibility,” PG&E wrote in a statement. “We are aware of the large outage in the Oakland area impacting approximately 50,000 customers. We are currently investigating the details, and will provide more information on the timing of restoration once we have more information.”

Original reporting by staff at KTVU Fox2.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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