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Balloons spark explosion, rupture water line

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- A small explosion involving balloons ruptured a water line Monday afternoon in Chula Vista.

Around 3:15 p.m. near 5th Avenue and D Street, two Mylar balloons struck a power line, causing an explosion that caused multiple water leaks, according to Chula Vista Fire Department Batallion Chief David Albright.

The homeowner, Victoria Salazar, was there when it happened.

"I heard a big explosion," she said. "I was scared and I said, 'where’s my babies?'"

She quickly grabbed her two children and ran outside. That's when she saw the balloons in the wire.

"There were two of them," Salazar said.

Firefighters arrived to find remnants of the balloons. They said when the balloon drifted into the line, it caused it to arc.

"Somewhere in the process, power lines and water lines crossed due to the way electricity works and we have multiple water leaks in the street -- one in the sidewalk and one in the water main on 5th Avenue near D Street," Albright said.

Juan Perez was outside and saw it all happen.

"I turned to my right and I saw the big fireball," said Perez. "I saw some kind of debris flying all over the place, like paper."

Water and power were shut down to two houses and one apartment complex.

"We thought maybe we had a water main gone," said Jean Robinson, who lives across the street.

Her home was left without power.

"All of a sudden there was kind of a big bang and everything went off," said Robinson.

City water and San Diego Gas & Electric crews worked late into the night to fix the outages.

SDG&E told FOX 5 because Mylar balloons are metallic, they can cause power outages. The utility said between graduations, Mother's Day and Father's Day, the problem is particularly prevalent this time of year.

No one was hurt, but for those in the neighborhood, the incident left many blown away.

"I didn’t think a balloon could do that much damage," said Perez.

Now, Salazar is warning others.

"It’s dangerous," she said. "Be careful with balloons, please."

The incident caused a power surge to flow back into her home, causing damage and several outlets to melt.

Late Monday, SDG&E was still working to fix the power problem.

SDG&E said it's not clear where the balloon came from. An investigation is underway.