By Sherman Farralone, Quilt staff
A massive power outage affecting over 100,000 residents in the west San Fernando Valley narrowly avoided becoming catastrophic when electricity was restored to remaining customers still without power this morning just ahead of an odor-based “point of no return.”
“We knew we were racing against time,” says LADWP spokesman Mitchell Dianis. “With this heat we’ve been having, things were about to get bad. Real bad.”
|A Winnetka neighborhood during last night's power outage. Or perhaps Woodland Hills. No, no,|
wait — this is definitely Tarzana. Or possibly West Hills. Could be Reseda, maybe. Staff photo.
Sustained triple-digit temperatures coupled with an inability for residents to sufficiently cool down via air conditioners would have resulted in an enormous, life-choking haze of apocrine-secreted particulate, or sweat cloud, that would have hovered over the western part of the San Fernando Valley indefinitely before settling and permanently seeping into clothes, structures, even concrete.
|Dr. Morris Detzer.|
Photo: Mimi Detzer
“140,000 people, many of whom are unfamiliar with modern methods of personal hygiene to begin with — if the people in front of me in line at Dollar Tree yesterday are any indication — without any means of bringing body temperatures down for twelve-plus hours would have been cataclysmic,” explains Dr. Morris Detzer, professor of osphresiology, or stink, at Pierce College Winnetka. “Had we gone on much longer, in this weather, the resulting funk would have made much of the Valley completely uninhabitable for future generations. ...Well, more so.”
A sense of impending panic was starting to rise among residents, as well.
“I was driving through Chatsworth last night during [the outage],” says Canoga Park resident Teodor Pasternak. “And you could tell it was already starting to turn. At first I thought it was the horses out there. But no, it was definitely [human] b.o. I can’t imagine what Reseda would have smelled like.”
Thankfully, work crews at the affected DWP Receiving Station J were able to perform the necessary repairs in time and get transformers, turbines and generators humming again — before residents began to.
“I mean, it’s not as bad as it could have been, but even this morning, eugh, you can still smell it a little bit,” says Pasternak. “I think it’s wafting up from Valerio and... ...snff...snff... Holy crap, that’s me.”
“...Actually, snnfff, that’s not bad, huh?”