CHICO, Calif. — PG&E restored to 1,126 homes and businesses in Chico Tuesday morning after an underground vault fire Monday night. It happened on the 2400 block of Notre Dame Blvd.
Underground utility vaults provide workers with access to different utility equipment like water valves, natural gas pipes and switchgear for electrical or telecommunications equipment, officials said.
The fire was located across the street from Fire Station 4, according to Chico Fire Battalion Chief Jim Lucanic.
"The station lost power and made the call to PG&E to come to take care of the electrical equipment before knocking out the fire," Lucanic said.
Since underground vaults contain electrical equipment, firefighters need to make sure with utilities that there is no power running through the wires before they knock out the flames, Lucianic said.
The firefighters at Station 4 waited for about 15-20 minutes for PG&E to confirm that there was no power running through the vault. During that time, they kept a close watch on the fire taking all the necessary steps and cooling measures to make sure that it didn't get out of control.
Once PG&E confirmed no power was going through the vault, the flames were knocked out quickly in less than five minutes, according to Lucianic.
No one was hurt and no damage to the building was reported, fire officials said. But there may have been some damage done to the landscaping and to the underground electrical equipment.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.