SEASIDE - Users of the pools and other facilities housed in the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District office were evacuated Wednesday afternoon when an electrical transformer exploded near the building.

No injuries occurred. Although the explosion caused enough smoke to set off an alarm in the building, there were no flames.

District officials closed the facilities following the incident, and they will remain closed until Sept. 12. Officials had been planning to shut down the pool from Sunday through Sept. 11 for annual maintenance.

District offices, however, will remain open for patrons to register for fall classes and activities, said General Manager Mary Blake. The Bob Chisholm Community Center, however, will remain open.

The explosion occurred at 1:15 p.m. when an electrical crew was boring underground to install a conduit to provide electricity to the new lights on the Broadway Park football field. The crew hit a high voltage wire that caused an electrical surge, which spread to other wires and the transformer.

Some damage may have occurred in the electrical system leading to the district's new heating and air conditioning system, Blake said. The system will be inspected, she said.

The explosion "was pretty substantial," she added.

"Everybody was evacuated from the pools," Blake said. "They were wrapped in towels and standing outside. We had people out of the building in a matter of minutes."

Both lanes of Broadway were blocked for about a half-hour while firefighters checked for flames.

Damage ranged between $2,000 and $3,000, according to preliminary estimates, said Chris Dugan, division chief for the Seaside Fire Department.

"There was a lot of smoke but no fire," Dugan said.

The pool also was evacuated in the late 1990s when a power surge occurred in the transformer in front of the youth center, Blake said.

"It is an explosion. It rocks everything," she said.

 

 

 

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