DOWNEY - Most of Downtown Downey was left in the dark Tuesday evening after a transformer explosion knocked out power to nearly 2,000 homes and businesses.The explosion took place at about 6:05 p.m. near Firestone Boulevard and Brookshire Avenue. Fire department officials didn't return messages seeking comment but at least one resident reported seeing a car on fire. "I was on the opposite corner of Brookshire & Firestone when this happened," Carlos Sotomayer wrote on the Patriot's Facebook page. "All I heard & felt was the loudest explosion I have ever heard and in a blink of an eye a car was on fire and the intersection lights were gone. I hope everyone is ok." The power outage forced many stores and restaurants to shut down early for the day. Ichiban Sushi had to ask five of its customers to leave the restaurant. One patron, who declined to give her name, said the power went out shortly after their salads came out and they were asked to leave a few moments later. "We thought it was just the restaurant that had its power go out, but then we heard ambulance sirens and we figured it was a bigger problem," she said. After 20 minutes without power, L.A. Buns owner Mike Gavica and his brother, Marcus, began hustling to remove all of the meat and produce they had in their refrigerator and loaded it into their cars to take home. The restaurant's dinner rush lasts from 6-8 p.m. and dinner accounts for 30 percent of their business. "This has never happened before and it's my first time running a restaurant, so I'm learning what to do in case this happens again," Gavica said. "It's unfortunate timing because it's hitting during our dinner rush, but we'll make it work." Porto's Bakery remained open because they have back-up generators that kick in during a power outage.
********** Published: November 15, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 31