Power Pole Crashes On Bus, Transformer Explodes Near Driver

Ronald Abergas
Ronald Abergas

KAIMUKI (KHNL) -- Power lines and debris litter a busy Kaimuki street after a utility pole comes crashing down on a city bus.

People in the Kaimuki area are were without power Friday because of that pole.

One driver narrowly escaped getting electrocuted. The transformer exploded right in front of his moving car. Luckily, the driver slammed on the brakes in time.

It was a scene that literally flashed before Jessie Navales' eyes.

"Big fire bomb, sounded like a real big lightning, light green light," he said.

Navales was driving along Koko Head Avenue when the transformer crashed and blew up only a few feet in front of his car.

"I was protected, thank god i'm protected," said Navales.

The bus was parked at a terminal bus stop. The driver was inside when the pole gave way.

"I just dropped off my passengers, and they left the bus so I went towards the back to see if any items were left on the bus and I heard a crackling noise and all of a sudden the bus shook and the telephone pole was down," said Ronald Abergas, the bus driver.

Abergas did not get hurt.

However, coolant oil in the transformer spilled onto the street and splashed onto a couple people, including Navales. Hazmat arrived with Hawaiian Electric crews, to determine how toxic the liquid might be.

Abergas said if this had to happen, it couldn't have happened at a better time. No one was hurt. The pole crashed 5 minutes after he dropped off all of his passengers, and no one was at the bus stop when the pole went down.

"The bus took the majority of the impact before it landed on anything else," he said.

The incident knocked out power in the area - 1800 customers affected.

Investigators are now looking into what caused the pole to buckle. Crews were still out at Koko Head Avenue late Friday night working to restore power.

Lights are back on for most people.

As of 9:30 p.m. Friday, only 100 customers were still in the dark. A spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric said they'll probably be without power until the utility pole gets fixed.