“It looked like a haunted house:” Sparks fly through Carmichael’s houses after transformer ruptures – CBS Sacramento


CARMICHAEL (CBS13) – A shocking situation developed in a Carmichael neighborhood after a power problem caused sparks to fly inside some homes – but quick-witted neighbors stepped in to save Their houses.

Kevin Cobel described the feeling “like a haunted house” and the sound like fireworks when a part inside his power box broke.

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“If you look at the take, it just blew it up,” Cobel said as he showed CBS13 around his home and the devices still affected.

“It turned on and tried to reset it – it just blew into my hand,” he said, pointing to the electrical box in his backyard spa.

A SMUD food box in front of him was the source of an emotional evening for him and his neighbors.

“Shocked. I’m still a little shaken up,” Cobel said. Some of his worst fears, he says, almost came out. “What can I say? I didn’t want to lose my house – I didn’t want to lose my business.

SMUD came out to investigate overnight and said a piece of the transformer, the neutral, broke.

“It’s pretty rare – it doesn’t happen often,” said Jake Holladay, electrician at Essential Electric – who came to check on some of the affected homes.

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He said the neutral is a critical part of the flow of electricity.

“When you lose that neutral, you lose the way back to the ground,” Holladay said. “There’s no way to go back, so he goes into the ground wherever he can.”

Its failure, he said, can be unpredictable and sometimes double the volts sent to homes – like what happened inside Cobel’s house.

The burnt out power strips showed the small smoky fires that Cobel said he had put out. His fan was on inside as the electricians tried to figure out why his air conditioning was broken.

“I tried to turn it on and nothing comes out,” Cobel said.

The reason for this shocking situation remains a mystery to neighbors, as teams investigate the cause.

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Cobel and other neighbors said they were incredibly grateful to SMUD for being so responsive and for sending electricians to check for damage. SMUD representatives also went door to door to help people file complaints in an attempt to replace what is broken.


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