Graig Mantle

A semi truck hit a power pole at the intersection of Osos and Walnut streets on Wednesday, causing the pole to snap and power lines to fall to the ground.

Power outages caused by the accident affected more than 3,500 people in San Luis Obispo, PG&E spokesperson Sharon Gavin said.

The accident occurred at 2:27 p.m. as the truck was taking the off-ramp of U.S. Highway 101. The trailer’s rear wheels left the road and hit the pole, which then hit the pole’s guy wire, said John Madden, a fire investigator with the San Luis Obispo Fire Department.

The fallen power lines also started a small, contained grass fire that burned an inflammable material.

While some customers were only without power for 20 minutes, 36 were still awaiting repairs hours later.

“By 6:30 p.m., we hope to have power restored to everyone,” Gavin said. “We have crews on site doing repair on the poles and wires.”

In addition to many residential areas, blocks of the downtown area experienced outages. This included City Hall, the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse buildings, the San Luis Obispo City-County Library, parking garages and stores.

“It was out for almost an hour or more,” said Don Schlotterbeck, a volunteer at City Hall. “In fact, the phone just came back on (at around 3:20 p.m.).”

Despite the outages, all of these locations stayed open.

“We were going to work in the dark,” said Shawnita Green, an employee at the San Luis Obispo City-County Library.

Urban Outfitters reverted to selling merchandise the old-fashioned way, with calculators and write-in receipts.

They helped “probably seven or eight” customers this way before getting power back, manager Allison Barnes said.

“There’s the freeway coming off and you’re coming on…just bad news,” Schlotterbeck said of the intersection where the accident took place.

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