A week after a power surge in north Redondo Beach knocked out electronics and appliances, many residents are still wondering who is responsible for the damages and how everything will be paid for.
The power surge, which occurred Nov. 25 after a vehicle struck the tension line of a power pole near the intersection of Inglewood Avenue and 182nd Street, fried toasters, washing machines, computers and televisions, among other items.
Figuring out who is responsible for the damage and who is entitled to a police report on the incident has been a complicated issue that Redondo Beach Police Chief Joe Leonardi said required consulting the city attorney.
According to Leonardi, in order to receive a redacted copy of the police report of the traffic accident, the vehicle code requires that a person be an involved party in the accident. Accordingly, requests by Patch to receive a copy of the police report were denied by the city late Friday afternoon.
"If you are either a driver or a passenger and you are either injured or have damaged property ... then you are entitled to a copy of the report," Leonardi explained. "It is releasable to people who are part of the accident."
However, figuring out who could be considered part of the Nov. 25 accident—and who could receive a copy of the police report—required an opinion from City Attorney Mike Webb.
"The question that we had to have answered is: 'Are these people who had damage to electronics a party to the collision?' ... Because it's not the collision itself that damaged their property, it is the effect on the Southern California Edison transmission pole that damaged their property," Leonardi said. "Normally, it is clear who the parties involved are—a car runs into a fence, we know who caused the damage and who suffered the damage."
Leonardi said the police department got the go-ahead from the city attorney on Thursday to include residents affected by the power surge as parties to the accident. In order to receive a copy of the report, however, those who suffered damage will first have to provide their information to the police.
"In order for people to get a copy of the report, they are going to have to become part of the report," Leonardi explained. "So that means they are going to have to provide their name, address, phone number—the normal information we would collect from a property owner ... They are going to have to list the property damage they say has occurred."
Leonardi said that the city is working to create a new form specifically for this incident and should be ready to be filled out early this week.
"There is no form that is made for this, so we are trying to make a form," Leonardi said. "If we just give them a blank piece of paper and say 'ok, fill this out,' we could get lines and lines of things that make absolutely no sense."
According to Leonardi, the new form will include an area to specifically list the make, model, and purchase cost of the damaged items.
"Something that makes them list it out on individual lines so that what they claim in damages is actually visible and identifiable," Leonardi said. "Otherwise, you could get just 'toaster.'"
The end goal, Leonardi said, is to have an official, organized and legible document that residents can use to make a claim for the damages and work with the insurance companies.
"They won't be able to move forward unless they have something that puts the information into a manageable context," said Leonardi. "We are trying to facilitate that if, in fact, somebody needs to do something with (the report), they can do it."
Leonardi said that those who wish to receive a copy of the report will need to visit the Redondo Beach police station at 401 Diamond St. in South Redondo Beach and fill out the new form listing their damages. Once that form is filled out, Leonardi said that affected parties will receive a redacted copy of the police report.
Leonardi was not immediately certain if there would be a fee for the report but said that any expenses incurred in getting a copy of the report can be included in an insurance claim.
The Traffic Accident
The traffic accident that caused the power surge and power outage for thousands of residents occurred approximately 300 feet east of Inglewood Avenue on 182nd Street in North Redondo Beach, according to police.
Leonardi said that the woman involved in the accident lost control of her 2003 Infiniti for unknown reasons and struck the metal tension line that is used to hold the power pole in place.
"It induced damage further up the pole and into the transformer, which was caused by the collision," Leonardi said.
Upon arrival at the scene police found the woman sitting in the front seat of an uninvolved party's car holding her infant child, who was also in the car during the collision. The right front bumper of the car was found in contact with the power pole tension line, Leonardi said.
There were no witnesses to the incident but Leonardi said that the woman showed no signs of intoxication. No injuries were reported.