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Major power outage reported across SF

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Traffic lights were out at Market and Fourth streets on Friday during a widespread PG&E outage. (Jonah Owen Lamb/S.F. Examiner)
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Downtown streets filled with pedestrians Friday morning as a massive power outage spread across San Francisco, closing a BART station, jamming intersections and shuttering businesses.

As many as 88,000 PG&E customers lost power around 9 a.m., according to the agency. The outage affected neighborhoods including the Western Addition, Pacific Heights, Japantown, Polk Gulch, Russian Hill, Marina, Richmond, Presidio, Laurel Heights, Sunset, Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf.

It was estimated that power would be restored by 1 p.m.

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Two hospitals, California Pacific Hospital and Saint Francis Hospital, were affected by the power outage but remained open and were operating off of backup generators. Any new patients were being rerouted to other fully operational hospitals in The City, emergency officials said.

The outage hit San Francisco on the same morning that power outages were reported in Manhattan and near the Los Angeles International Airport, but it was not immediately known whether the outages were related.

The cause for the power outage has yet to be determined. However, San Francisco Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Burke confirmed an equipment fire at the PG&E substation at Larkin and Eddy streets.

Burke said it is unclear whether the fire is related to the outage.

Onlookers reported smoking come from the rear of the building and the streets were blocked in all directions.

Officer Giselle Talkoff, a Police Department spokesperson, said firefighters were responding to at least 20 reports of people trapped in elevators around San Francisco.

“It’s all over The City right now and we’re still trying to get numbers,” Officer Giselle Talkoff said.

Transit officials also closed the Montgomery BART Station during the bustling morning commute, evacuating the station and sending Muni trains through the tunnel without stopping.

Banks and coffee shops normally busy with customers were closed along Market Street and in the Financial District because of the power outage.

PG&E was not immediately available to comment.

Francis Zamora, a spokesperson with the Department of Emergency Management, said they are in contact with PG&E and was asking people not to call 911 to report outages unless there is an emergency. He said power is out at their headquarters in the Fillmore District, but they are using a generator.

Transit officials also replaced some bus lines and the iconic cable car lines with shuttles for the morning.

Some San Francisco Unified School District schools were reporting a power outage as well, though all schools remained open.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

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