Three people working a contract job for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. died Tuesday in a fiery helicopter crash in Solano County.
The incident occurred about 1 p.m. when a third-party contractor’s helicopter crashed into a 115,000-volt PG&E power line and burst into flames somewhere near Lyon Road and Soda Springs Road between Fairfield and Vacaville, officials said.
A small fire was ignited as a result of the crash but it was later extinguished by first responders.
Authorities did not immediately release the names of the three people involved in the crash, but a spokesperson for the Solano County Sheriff’s Office said that they died. And PG&E, which routinely uses contractors to inspect and perform maintenance work on its power lines, confirmed that it had hired the helicopter crew.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash and took control of the resulting investigation, said PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo. She could not provide the name of the contractor that provided and staffed the helicopter but said “PG&E and our contractor will provide full support as needed” to the investigation.
After the crash, PG&E turned off power to about 38,000 homes and businesses in the area at the request of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, Merlo said. Because high temperatures had placed more demand on the company’s electrical system, PG&E might be delayed in restoring power for everyone, Merlo said early Tuesday evening.
As of 4 p.m., Lyon Road was closed in both directions with no estimated time of reopening, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Chronicle staff writer Josh Koehn contributed reporting.
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