Mylar balloon causes electrical surge, water leaks in Chula Vist - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mylar balloon causes electrical surge, water leaks in Chula Vista

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Water service was still out Monday night in a Chula Vista neighborhood following a strange series of events.

Firefighters say an explosion and electrical surge somehow broke a pair of water mains. Crews worked for several hours to repair the damage and expected to be finished in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"I heard a big explosion," said Victoria Salazar who was in the kitchen inside her home when she heard the bang. She says her first instinct was to grab her children and run.

When she got outside she saw the damage, but it wasn't until later that she - and others - learned what caused it.

"When the mylar balloons contact the power lines, we get an explosion," said one Chula Vista firefighter.

The Chula Vista Fire Department says that explosion wasn't the end to the damage caused by the balloon. An electrical surge went through the power poles and into the ground, charging and breaking two water mains.

The circuit panel at Victoria Salazar's home was fried and several outlets melted.

"I got a call from the neighbor and she said that my mom saw a flash in the house and that the firemen were here," said Lynne Robinson who was on vacation Monday.

Robinson rushed home from a Memorial Day trip after she heard of the bizarre series of events that struck her and her mother's neighborhood.

"They thought it might be a gas leak so that was a little disconcerting right there," said Robinson. "They were talking about taking her out of the house and evacuating the whole block I believe."

Salazar and her family were the only ones that had to leave home. Thankfully they have a place to stay and it will only be for a few days.

"Mylar balloons do cause this every once in a while, just not to the extent that they pop water mains," a Chula Vista firefighter told News 8. "[This was] a little more of an involved incident but all the appropriate utilities are here to fix the infrastructure."

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