San Diego

Hundreds Without Power After Driver Crashes Into Oceanside Transformer

 Crews are working to replace an entire transformer in Oceanside after a car crashed into a street sign, tree and then the transformer.

The crash happened at Oceanside Boulevard and Vine Street shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials said. When the car went above the curb, it caused a chain reaction that eventually lead to the car crashing into the transformer.

The transformer burst into flames upon impact, creating a small fire crews quickly put out.

"There were approximately 50 gallons of transformer oil that's flammable inside the transformer, making it challenging for crews to extinguish the fire," said Oceanside Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Deavila. 

More than 40 people were evacuated from Ocean Breeze Senior Village, a senior living community.

Additionally, 309 homes and businesses throughout Oceanside, San Luis Rey and Ocean Hills will be without power for several hours.

Residents without electricity said they tried to keep themselves busy as they waited for the power to come back on.

"It's all electric heaters,so it's getting cool inside," said resident David Johnston. "For everybody." 

A portion of Vine Street is blocked off as crews work to repair the transformer. 

Ron Benton, a resident without electricity, said he woke up to a big bang outside his window. 

"What was going through my mind, when you have those transformers and they're sitting above the ground, those transformers should be buried into the ground so people won't run into those thins. 

The driver of the maroon Toyota Four-Runner ran away after the crash, officials said. Oceanside police are searching for the driver.

No further information was immediately available. 

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