A crow caused a short circuit on power lines that started a fire causing damage to St. Margaret's Church late Sunday night. Some church buildings are still without power this morning.
According to a email from church Reverend Lane Hensley, "a crow shorted a high voltage power line that emerges from the ground behind the Karns Administration Building at St. Margaret’s and extends on above-ground lines across the wash and up the mountain slope behind the campus. The short circuit caused the lines to heat and fail, falling to the ground at the top of the mountain ridge, and then again very near St. Margaret’s.
"The power line fell across a chain link fence that separates our property from the wash, electrifying the fence and starting multiple brush fires along the base. The cable arced as it touched the ground, turning sand to glass near the building, and starting fires in the brush and on adjacent palm trees. Burning debris from the palms fell to the ground, starting more fires and covering air conditioning equipment with flaming embers.
"Southern California Edison crews who responded first noticed the problem when they saw a bright flash of blue light coming from St. Margaret’s. Neighbors reported hearing a loud explosion, followed by a loss of electrical power."
No injures were reported in the fire.
The fire was reported at 11:35 p.m. in the 47000 block of Highway 74, according to Cal Fire’s Jody Hagemann.
Debris fell from the trees onto the church roof at but firefighters had the flames knocked down by 12:15 a.m., Monday, Hagemann said.
Over 1,000 residential customers lost power in areas near the church, according to Southern California Edison. Their power has been restored.