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Power outage hits West L.A., snarls traffic [Updated]

July 8, 2009 |  9:14 pm

A power outage hit a large swath of West Los Angeles tonight, blacking out homes and businesses and further snarling traffic that had been slowed by a fire near the Getty Center. The Department of Water and Power said it was caused by an undetermined problem at a distribution station.

The outage affected an area roughly bounded by the 10 Freeway on the south, Wilshire Boulevard on the north, Sepulveda Boulevard on the east and the Santa Monica city limits on the west, according to police.

L.A. Firefighter Lauren deRosier said the outage began at 7:47 p.m. when a transformer at Cotner and Nebraska avenues "apparently blew." He said firefighters were dispatched to the scene but left within an hour after determining that the transformer posed no danger. A spokeswoman for the DWP, Stephanie Interiano, said she couldn't confirm that account. She also said the DWP did not know the boundaries of the outage or the number of customers affected, and did not yet know when power would be restored. Shortly after 9 p.m., the DWP sent a Twitter alert saying that 20,500 customers were affected.

Police said traffic was badly snarled in the area, but there were no serious accidents. DeRosier said the Fire Department responded to "a number of elevator entrapments" and false alarms caused by the outage.

--Mitchell Landsberg

[Updated at 10:33 p.m.]: The DWP says power was restored to all customers at 9:55 p.m. Interiano said preliminary indications are that the cause was a failed cable inside the station.