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Valentine's Day balloon cuts power for thousands in Fresno

France Valentine's Day
Posted at 12:10 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 14:21:14-05

FRESNO, Calif. — A Valentine's Day balloon filled with helium drifted into a power line Sunday, sparking an outage that temporarily plunged more than 2,300 Fresno households into the dark.

Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman Karly Hernandez said that the outage began about 8 p.m. in an area east of Valentine Avenue, The Fresno Bee reportedMonday. Most lights were back on an hour later but some residents were without power until midnight.

Last year, metallic balloons caused about 450 outages in PG&E’s service area in Northern and Central California, halting power to more than 250,000 homes and businesses, the utility reported. They said this was nearly a 30% increase in balloon-caused outages from 2019.

The utility routinely warns residents of the dangers of balloons before major holidays.

“Metallic balloons are an easy way to make at-home celebrations more festive, but nothing puts a damper on a romantic evening faster than a widespread power outage you, your friends, or your neighbors," said Ken Wells, vice president of electronic distribution, in a news release earlier this month.