Fire Department Log By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday October 18, 2005

Summer dust, first rain trigger power outages 

Berkeley firefighters were kept jumping Saturday after the first rain of the season mixed with dusty power lines produced power outages in south Berkeley. 

Power to traffic lights and homes was disrupted by shorts and the occasional utility pole fire, said Deputy Fire Chief David P. Orth. 

Traffic lights were knocked out along a stretch of Ashby Avenue, and an outage that darkened lights along the Martin Luther King Jr. Way extension through the Oakland border wasn’t resolved until Sunday. 

“It’s a common phenomenon with the first rain acting on the buildup of dust on lines over the summer,” said Orth, who added that Pacific Gas & Electric washes down high tension lines to prevent even broader outages.