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Southern California Edison shut off the electricity in Isla Vista’s business district Saturday, allowing Santa Barbara County firefighters to extinguish an underground fire in front of I.V. Market at 939 Embarcadero Del Mar.

The outage stretched from the edge of UCSB west to Camino Pescadero and from the bottom of the I.V. loop to El Colegio Road, leaving more than 1000 residents without power. The outage began shortly before 7 p.m. and lasted until approximately 9:20 p.m.

Three fire engines, a battalion chief and several county sheriff and highway patrol vehicles responded at 6:05 p.m. and found white smoke pouring out of a grate in front of I.V. Market caused by a fire beneath the street.

“Quite a few people were in the area, obviously, because it’s Deltopia going on at the same time,” said Dave Zaniboni, chief of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

All businesses on Embarcadero Del Mar between Madrid and Seville roads were evacuated immediately following the fire including Sushiya, Isla Vista Laundromat and Sweet Alley. The road was also closed for about an hour but has since reopened.

As the sun set on Saturday evening, the power still out, distressed students could be heard screaming, “What are we going to eat?”

Multiple business owners questioned the estimated 10 p.m. power restoration, with one saying he had “heard that before,” but the power returned more than 30 minutes before the estimated restoration time. Hana Kitchen, Blaze Pizza and Freebirds were all forced to close early due to the power outage.

Shortly after 8 p.m., Sam’s To Go, Jimmy John’s and I.V. Deli were the only sources of food on Pardall Road, although the kitchen in I.V. Deli was closed, Sam’s To Go was using lanterns and Jimmy John’s employees were wearing headlamps.

At 9:30 p.m., several businesses began opening back up, including Freebirds, Blaze Pizza and I.V. Drip

This is a breaking story. The article will be updated with additional information.

[April 2, 9:35 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect the power restoration.]

News Editor Supriya Yelimeli contributed reporting.


Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs
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