DWP Vault Explosion Leaves UCLA on Backup Power, Businesses in Westwood Affected

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The UCLA campus was temporarily on backup power after a vault explosion occurred in Westwood and left several business without electricity Tuesday.

Firefighters, police and utility workers responded to a vault explosion at UCLA on July 14, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

Firefighters, police and utility workers responded to a vault explosion at UCLA on July 14, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

The explosion in a DWP vault was reported about 11:45 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The explosion occurred between Parking Structure 8 and a facilities maintenance building in a service alley on campus, UCLA spokesman Tod Tamberg said. All university buildings were back online but were running on backup power, he said.

On scene, fire Battalion Chief Antoine McKnight described a “pretty significant explosion” that was contained to a DWP vault. Ten fire companies responded in case anyone was injured or trapped, but there was no fire or injuries, McKnight said.

Gas sometimes builds up inside utility vaults, leading to such explosions, McKnight said. He cautioned that he did not know the cause of this incident and said DWP would determined what had happened.

A “circuit outage” caused the power outage, and that may be linked to a possible explosion, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Carol Tucker said. Utility crews were on scene and were trying to determine the exact cause and extent of the outage, she said.

In addition to UCLA losing power, several other commercial businesses were affected, Tucker said. She did not know how many customers lost service.

Power was restored at 1:35 p.m., according to a tweet from LADWP.