Underground Fire in Downtown Long Beach Caused by Trash in Vent Pipe, Edison Officials Say

Edison vent pipe fire

Personnel with Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) at the scene of an underground fire. Photo by Dennis Dean. 

A fire under one of downtown Long Beach’s streets Monday evening was caused by trash in a pipe that ventilates underground electrical vaults, according to Southern California Edison (SCE) officials.

Long Beach fire units initially responded to reports of smoke from an electrical vault on Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard yesterday at 5:43PM, said Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) spokesman Jake Heflin.

Firefighters eventually extinguished the fire that took place in a vent pipe stuffed with trash, according to Edison spokesman Robert Villegas. The pipe was located in front of one of the businesses, he said. No equipment was damaged and no power outages were reported.


The ignition source was undetermined, said Villegas, who noted that in previous cases people have disposed cigarette butts in the vents, which officials believe potentially caused trash stuffed inside to catch on fire.

“People should never put anything (in the vent pipes),” Villegas said. “There are plenty of trash cans on the street, especially in the downtown area.”

Edison officials also reminded smokers to fully put out cigarettes and properly dispose of them in designated areas.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.