Fire reported at La Jolla building

Fire sparked by transformer explosion

SAN DIEGO - Two workers were injured Tuesday, one seriously, when an electrical panel on a transformer exploded at an oceanfront La Jolla condominium high-rise, authorities said.

The blast occurred shortly before 11:30 a.m. in a ground-floor utility room at the 18-story building in the 900 block of Coast Boulevard, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Sagrario Alvarez was cleaning a unit on the 10th floor when the explosion occurred. Her daughter, Michelle, was watching television in another unit.

"I was really scared," Michelle said. "I thought of the 9/11 tragedy."

Her mother called her but grew even more frightened when she heard her little girl's panicked voice.

"I'm so scared because she's very, very, very scared," Alvarez said.

About 100 firefighters rushed to the scene. Firefighters were able to quickly put out the resulting blaze with dry chemical retardant, but not before the flames discharged "a lot of smoke," some of which wafted as high as the second floor, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said.

Medics took the injured electricians to UCSD Medical Center. Luque said one has minor injuries to his neck area and the other has more serious, possibly life-threatening injuries. 

About 120 residents were in the building at the time of the mishap, and some chose to evacuate while emergency personnel dealt tended to the burned men and extinguished the fire, Luque said.

"How does it feel that you have your daughter, and you're out here safely?" 10News reporter Hannah Mullins asked Alvarez.

"Much better," Alvarez answered, with her arm around Michelle. "I'm feeling much better."

Print this article Back to Top