Pacific Gas & Electric says that power has been restored to parts of Menlo Park west of El Camino Real, according to a spokesperson at the PG&E outage office.
Power went off abruptly at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Allied Arts neighborhood and parts of downtown south of Santa Cruz Avenue.
At the northwest corner of Middle Avenue and University Drive, a police officer from the Menlo Park Police Department pointed out a power pole on the northwest corner of the intersection where an electrical line had separated.
A look at the southwest corner revealed a long length of white wire lying there in unorganized coils on the short stretch of sidewalk that runs along University Drive.
Firefighters from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District blocked University Drive into the Allied Arts neighborhood for about 45 minutes. Firefighters departed after the PG&E workers left, apparently to attend to various other areas experiencing outages.
Firefighters and police laughed at the timing of the outage: a few hours ahead of Dec. 21, the supposed day of apocalyptic destruction of the planet reportedly predicted by an ancient Mayan calender.
Power returned to the streetlights along the north side of Middle Ave at about 8:30 p.m.
One resident after another, many in vehicles and some on foot with flashlights, stopped by the intersection and asked police and firefighters what had happened and when power would be restored.
PG&E returned to the scene at about 8:45 p.m. and began wrapping up the downed and de-energized wire, at which point the police officer also left.
A resident who said she lives near the corner said she heard a loud noise and saw a bright flash flood the room with blue light through a window.
Another resident who lives nearby said he was driving up Middle Avenue at about 7:25 p.m. and saw bright flashing in the area of the upper region of the affected power pole.
Upon arriving at home, he immediately built a fire in his fireplace in anticipation of an outage, which came about three minutes later, he said.